The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a landmark federal lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage.
The plaintiffs include 10 couples and a widow, including three couples from Allegheny County. The nominal lead plaintiffs are Deb and Susan Whitewood, of Bridgeville, who are joined as litigants by their two daughters, Abbey, 16, and Katie, 14. Also among the plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Fredia Hurdle, 49, and Lynn Hurdle, 43, of Crafton Heights; and Dawn Plummer, 36, and Diana Polson, 37, of Point Breeze.
The ACLU and the Philadelphia law firm of Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller are filing the complaint in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg in an effort to have the state’s Defense of Marriage Act declared unconstitutional. That act defines marriage as between a man and a woman, and bars Pennsylvania from recognizing same sex marriages entered into in other states.
“What we’re looking for is for the court to say: Here we are in the 21st century, and you cannot prohibit somebody from participating in this wonderful institution we call marriage,” said Witold “Vic” Walczak, legal director of the Pennsylvania ACLU.
“We are expecting a trial in this case — a relatively short discovery period, and then a trial,” he said. “I don’t think Tom Corbett is going to lay down on this.”
The ACLU also says it plans to file suit shortly in North Carolina and Virginia.