Lawsuit filed over Pennsylvania's same-sex marriage ban

The ACLU is representing 23 plaintiffs who argue that the ban violates the equal protection clause

Published July 9, 2013 9:10PM (EDT)

The ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriages, arguing that the law violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Washington Post reports:

The ACLU is representing 23 plaintiffs –10 gay couples, two children of one of the couples, and the surviving widow of a same-sex couple that was together for 29 years — in a lawsuit it filed Tuesday in Harrisburg, Pa. James Esseks, who directs the ACLU’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project, said the group hopes to secure the right for gay couples to marry in Pennsylvania, force the state to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere and ratchet up the legal pressure on the Supreme Court to ultimately rule on the question of whether same-sex marriage should be legal across the nation.

"The issue is going back to the Supreme Court, it’s just a matter of time,” Esseks told Buzzfeed. “We want to add the voices of these plaintiffs to that discussion.”

"Because of Pennsylvania's refusal to allow or recognize their marriages" the complaint says, "same-sex couples are also denied many federal protections afforded to married couples, such as the ability to take time off work to care for a sick spouse under the Family Medial Leave Act and access to a spouse's social security retirement benefits."

By Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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Aclu Defense Of Marriage Act Gay Marriage Pennsylvania Supreme Court