Skip to main content

Regional groups react to marriage equality in Pennsylvania

05/27/2014 03:56PM, Published by ACL, Categories: In Print



By John Chambless

Staff Writer

On May 20, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III ruled that Pennsylvania’s law banning marriage equality is unconstitutional. On May 21, Gov. Tom Corbett announced the state would not appeal the ruling, officially making Pennsylvania the 19th state where gay and lesbian couples can legally marry.

In a press release, Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin wrote, “Governor Corbett did the right thing in not standing in the way of thousands of loving couples’ ability to make lifelong commitments to each other through marriage. Breaking down this dark wall of discrimination in the Keystone State strengthens our ever-growing momentum as we continue to expand the marriage equality map. Thanks to the hundreds of plaintiffs and attorneys across the country challenging these discriminatory marriage bans, its only a matter of time before a state border no longer dictates whether a loving couple can legally share in the joys of marriage.”

Same-sex couples can legally marry in 19 states and the District of Columbia, while 41 states have a law or constitutional amendment restricting marriage to the union of one man and one woman. According to a March 2014 Washington Post/ABC News poll, 59 percent of Americans support marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples. 

In the May 20 ruling, Judge Jones wrote, “We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.”

In a comment e-mailed to the Chester County Press, Liz Bradbury, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Diversity Network, based in Allentown, wrote, "The majority of people in Pennsylvania support marriage equality because they are fair-minded, and believe that families should be treated equally. ... The ACLU put together an excellent case and I don't see how the judge could respond in any other way."

Kathleen G. Kane, the Attorney General of Pennsylvania, issued a statement on May 20, saying, "This is an historic day. More importantly, today brings justice to Pennsylvanians who have suffered from unequal protection under the law because of their sexual orientation. When state-sponsored inequality exists, citizens are deprived of the full protections that the Constitution guarantees. Our commonwealth progressed today, and so have the hopes and dreams of many who suffer from inequality. 

"Today, in Pennsylvania, the Constitution prevailed," Kane continued. "Inequality in any form is unacceptable and it has never stood the test of time. I have remained steadfast in my decision not to defend Pennsylvania’s Defense of Marriage Act because I made a legal determination as to the unconstitutionality of this law. I am pleased that a learned legal mind such as Judge Jones ruled similarly." 

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) also welcomed the court decision, calling it, “A major step forward in the quest for equal rights for all.”  Nancy Baron-Baer, ADL Philadelphia interim regional director, said, "We are pleased by the court’s decision supporting the right of same-sex couples to marry, and welcome this reaffirmation of equal treatment and protection for all. No American should be denied access to the benefits of civil marriage because of his or her sexual orientation. This decision is a major step forward in the quest for equal rights and freedom from discrimination for all Pennsylvania residents.”

On the opposing side of the decision,  the American Family Association of Pennsylvania responded with a press release condemning "Judge Jones’ continued judicial activism as he steps out of line with other judges who are redefining marriage with their wrong-headed decisions. 

"The 41-page decision from Judge Jones throws out the majority vote of Pennsylvania’s House and Senate back in 1996, when DOMA passed. He has overstepped his constitutional authority by usurping the General Assembly of its legislative power. Jones further complains on pages 34 and 35 that even though 17 bills have been introduced in the PA legislature that would give homosexuals special rights – including 'marriage' — there’s no guarantee that they will pass ... so he has to step in and create his own law by throwing out our law protecting marriage,” wrote Diane Gramley, president of the AFA of Pennsylvania. 

Gramley noted that, "In his decision, Jones predicts the term same-sex marriage will disappear and be replaced simply by marriage. The AFA of PA could not disagree more strongly. The average Pennsylvanian fully understands marriage is only between one man and one woman, and any other arrangement is not marriage. ... Unelected judges making laws from the bench are not what the founding fathers intended and that is fully outlined in the U.S. Constitution. We redefine family and marriage, the bedrock of society, at our peril," Gramley wrote.

Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Rob Gleason also released a statement on May 21, saying, "an activist judiciary has substituted its judgment in place of the law created by the elected representatives of Pennsylvania and has stifled the ongoing debate of people with differing points of view. The questions that face our commonwealth are best aired in the legislature with the representatives of the people. This complete disregard of the important roles held by each branch of government is just another reason why we need to elect principled people to office to uphold our Constitution. 

“Grassroots activists came together in 2012 to debate and form our Republican Party platform, which clearly supports the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. We believe all Pennsylvanians deserve dignity and respect regardless of their beliefs on this issue. However, the citizens of the commonwealth also deserved to be participants in the ongoing discussion, rather than be dictated to by judicial fiat.”


Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Chester County's free newsletter to catch every headline



governor tom corbett marriage equality u.s. district judge john e. jones iii


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Sunny Container Gardens

    05/04/2016
    10:30AM — 12:30PM

    Add a bit of summertime flair to your garden with a colorful container of sun-loving perennials. ...


  • Pajama Storytime

    05/04/2016
    06:30PM — 07:30PM

    Wednesdays at 6:30 PM - Join us for an evening of stories, songs, crafts, and fun to end your day...


  • Pro-Act's Family Education Program

    05/04/2016
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    When someone is addicted to drugs & alcohol, the diease affects the entire family. Each month PR...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Right Tool, Right Place

    05/05/2016
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Gardening is a wonderful activity for your health and well-being; but like any activity, there ar...


  • What will I See on the Sun Today?

    05/05/2016
    03:00PM — 05:00PM

    It's all about LIGHT. Safely observe the sun through special solar glasses, telescopes in three d...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    05/05/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


  • Lessons from the Winemaker

    05/05/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Lessons from the Winemaker series will begin in May and continue until December. One Thursday...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Debtors Anonymous

    05/09/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    In D.A., our purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience wit...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Tail Waggin' Tutors

    05/10/2016
    04:30PM — 05:30PM

    Practice reading to a certified therapy dog. This relaxed animal friendly atmosphere allows stud...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Sunny Container Gardens

    05/04/2016
    10:30AM — 12:30PM

    Add a bit of summertime flair to your garden with a colorful container of sun-loving perennials. ...


  • Pajama Storytime

    05/04/2016
    06:30PM — 07:30PM

    Wednesdays at 6:30 PM - Join us for an evening of stories, songs, crafts, and fun to end your day...


  • Pro-Act's Family Education Program

    05/04/2016
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    When someone is addicted to drugs & alcohol, the diease affects the entire family. Each month PR...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Right Tool, Right Place

    05/05/2016
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Gardening is a wonderful activity for your health and well-being; but like any activity, there ar...


  • What will I See on the Sun Today?

    05/05/2016
    03:00PM — 05:00PM

    It's all about LIGHT. Safely observe the sun through special solar glasses, telescopes in three d...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    05/05/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


  • Lessons from the Winemaker

    05/05/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Lessons from the Winemaker series will begin in May and continue until December. One Thursday...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • National Public Gardens Day

    05/06/2016
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Celebrate America's public gardens with a complimentary visit to Mt. Cuba Center! Relax in our ga...


  • National Public Gardens Day

    05/06/2016
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Celebrate America's public gardens with a complimentary visit to Mt. Cuba Center! Relax in our ga...


  • Join the fun at a Quarter Auction by Friends for Rescue & Pet Care in Newark on Friday May 6, 201...


  • Charlie Zahm is back presenting an evening of Civil War era music and history---this time it's Th...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Wildflower Walk

    05/07/2016
    09:00AM — 11:00AM

    With Janet Ebert, Botanist Saturday, May 7th from 9:00AM-11:00AM Location: Bucktoe Creek Preser...


  • Develop a personal photographic style and bring your technical and artistic skills to a new level...


  • Church Yard Sale

    05/07/2016
    09:00AM — 02:00PM

    As part of the East Goshen Township Community Day program, there will be a yard sale at UCCEG, 1...


  • Aston E-Waste & Data Destruction Event

    05/07/2016
    09:00AM — 01:00PM

    ELECTRONIC ITEMS ACCEPTED— Almost anything with a plug! Hard drive & cell phone destruction $10...


  • Famous Chicken BBBQ

    05/07/2016
    01:30PM — 04:30PM

    CHICKEN BBQ, Saturday, May 7, 1:30-4:30 p.m., LANDENBERG CHURCH at 205 Landenberg Road, Landenbe...


  • Banding Together for Dravet

    05/07/2016
    07:00PM — 09:15PM

    Join us at the first ever Banding Together for Dravet on Saturday, May 7, 2016. Proceeds benef...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • 2016 Kacie's Cause MOTHER'S DAY WALK

    05/08/2016
    09:00AM — 12:00PM

    We hope you will join us for the Third Annual Mother's Day Walk. This is a FAMILY EVENT (rain or ...


  • 2016 Kacie's Cause MOTHER'S DAY WALK

    05/08/2016
    09:00AM — 12:00PM

    We hope you will join us for the Third Annual Mother's Day Walk. This is a FAMILY EVENT (rain or ...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Debtors Anonymous

    05/09/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    In D.A., our purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience wit...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Tail Waggin' Tutors

    05/10/2016
    04:30PM — 05:30PM

    Practice reading to a certified therapy dog. This relaxed animal friendly atmosphere allows stud...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Pilates Class: Get in Shape for Summer!

    05/11/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Sign up for FREE Pilates Class, back by popular demand! It's a 6 week session- attend them all or...


  • Pajama Storytime

    05/11/2016
    06:30PM — 07:30PM

    Wednesdays at 6:30 PM - Join us for an evening of stories, songs, crafts, and fun to end your day...


  • Pro-Act's Family Education Program

    05/11/2016
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    When someone is addicted to drugs & alcohol, the diease affects the entire family. Each month PR...


  • The Garden After Dark

    05/11/2016
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    From Perseus and Hercules to Pegasus and Leo, the spring sky abounds with mesmerizing constellati...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Growing Native Orchids

    05/12/2016
    10:00AM — 01:00PM

    Whether you are a rank beginner or a master gardener, hardy native orchids can grow and thrive in...


  • Meditation

    05/12/2016
    05:30PM — 06:30PM

    Increased concentration, decreased anxiety, and a general feeling of well-being can be achieved t...


  • Meditation

    05/12/2016
    05:30PM — 06:30PM

    Increased concentration, decreased anxiety, and a general feeling of well-being can be achieved t...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    05/12/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


  • Scattered throughout the nearby Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area are the remains of on...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Spring Art-In

    05/13/2016
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Join us for a day of art and let your creativity bloom while you draw, paint, or photograph Mt. C...


  • Spring Art-In

    05/13/2016
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Join us for a day of art and let your creativity bloom while you draw, paint, or photograph Mt. C...


  • Color In Your Bedroom

    05/13/2016
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    Come and discover how to balance your physical health and intimate relationships with the color a...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • WHITE CANE DAY

    05/14/2016
    09:00AM — 02:00PM

    LIONS ON THE LOOSE IN OXFORD THE OXFORD LIONS CLUB MEMBERS WILL BE ON 3RD STREET, REDNERS MA...


  • Elemental Ayurvedic Readings

    05/14/2016
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    The 2 hour consultation with Sarah Tomlinson directs your awareness to your personal strengths an...


  • Sustainable Landscape Techniques

    05/14/2016
    10:00AM — 02:00PM

    Make your landscape more ecologically sound by implementing a variety of sustainable gardening an...


  • Stateline Loop Run for Conservation

    05/14/2016
    10:00AM — 02:00PM

    Join The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County (TLC) on Saturday, May 14th for the annual ...


  • The Copeland Legacy: Conserving Native Plants

    05/14/2016
    10:30AM — 12:30PM

    Join us for Community Read, a multi-institutional program designed to inspire reading, conversati...


  • Color For Stress Reduction

    05/14/2016
    03:00PM — 06:00PM

    In this unique three-hour workshop you will discover how the activity of Coloring Yantras brings ...


  • Celebrate the power of four paws with CPL! This canine chic celebration is filled with opportunit...


  • Concordia Voices Presents: New Heaven

    05/14/2016
    07:30PM — 09:00PM

    Concordia Choral Arts’ 2015-2016 Performance Year, titled THE NEW WORLD continues with our spring...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Tail Waggin' Tutors

    05/15/2016
    01:00PM — 02:00PM

    Practice reading to a certified therapy dog. This relaxed animal friendly atmosphere allows stud...


  • Taste Kennett Food Tours

    05/15/2016
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    Taste Kennett Food Tours, creators of memorable, unique and fun food experiences, offer three-hou...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Don't miss this opportunity to visit and photograph four magnificent mid-Atlantic gardens at the ...


  • Photographing Gardens of the Brandywine Valley

    05/16/2016
    06:00AM — 04:30PM

    Don't miss this opportunity to visit and photograph four magnificent mid-Atlantic gardens at the ...


  • Debtors Anonymous

    05/16/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    In D.A., our purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience wit...


  • Pilates Class: Get in Shape for Summer!

    05/16/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Sign up for FREE Pilates Class, back by popular demand! It's a 6 week session- attend them all or...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Carnival at St. Peter Parish in West Brandywine

    05/18/2016
    03:00PM — 10:00PM

    St. Peter Parish in West Brandywine, PA (Chester County) Wed. May 18-Sat. May 21. Event runs 5-1...


  • Pajama Storytime

    05/18/2016
    06:30PM — 07:30PM

    Wednesdays at 6:30 PM - Join us for an evening of stories, songs, crafts, and fun to end your day...


  • Pro-Act's Family Education Program

    05/18/2016
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    When someone is addicted to drugs & alcohol, the diease affects the entire family. Each month PR...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • The Allure of Native Azaleas

    05/19/2016
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Are you fascinated by native azaleas but aren't sure how to grow them? Steven Kristoph examines s...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    05/19/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Treehouse Workshop

    05/21/2016
    08:00AM

    Learn how to build a treehouse in the safest and most tree friendly way. Instructors include carp...


  • Grains of the World Dinner

    05/21/2016
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    Newlin Grist Mill director Tony Shahan will host a special dining event featuring grains from acr...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Taste Kennett Food Tours

    05/22/2016
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    Taste Kennett Food Tours, creators of memorable, unique and fun food experiences, offer three-hou...


  • Quarter Auction

    05/22/2016
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    Quarter Auction. There will also be Special Raffle Baskets and a 50/50. Visit www.curecancertoday...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Debtors Anonymous

    05/23/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    In D.A., our purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience wit...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Tail Waggin' Tutors

    05/24/2016
    04:30PM — 05:30PM

    Practice reading to a certified therapy dog. This relaxed animal friendly atmosphere allows stud...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Leaf Imprinted Ceramic Vessel

    05/25/2016
    12:00PM — 04:00PM

    Create a nature-inspired vessel (vase or bowl) using foliage from our native trees as the design ...


  • Yoga

    05/25/2016
    05:00PM — 06:00PM

    Increase your range of motion, core body strength, and flexibility through the practice of yoga i...


  • Yoga

    05/25/2016
    05:00PM — 06:00PM

    Increase your range of motion, core body strength, and flexibility through the practice of yoga i...


  • Pajama Storytime

    05/25/2016
    06:30PM — 07:30PM

    Wednesdays at 6:30 PM - Join us for an evening of stories, songs, crafts, and fun to end your day...


  • Pro-Act's Family Education Program

    05/25/2016
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    When someone is addicted to drugs & alcohol, the diease affects the entire family. Each month PR...


Chester County High School Sports