Harrisburg – Today Judge Jones announced his decision that the Pennsylvania ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional. Pending appeal from the state, Jones’ decision will allow all loving couples in Pennsylvania the freedom to marry.

Ted Martin, Executive Director for Equality PA commented on Judge Jones decision:

“It’s always a good day in PA when love wins. Equality PA members have been waiting for this day for a long time, and we thank Judge Jones for being fair minded in his decision. Marriage really matters to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender couples in deeply important ways. We hope that Gov. Corbett decides not to appeal this important decision and we look forward to celebrating many weddings in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead.”

Equality PA started a petition today to ask Governor Corbett not to appeal the judge’s decision. Click here to view the petition.

Equality PA supporters celebrated and reflected on what this decision means to them.

“This has been a long time coming,” said Stephanie Haynes, organizer for Philly Family Pride. “I wish that my marriage to my partner of 17 years was recognized when we had our ceremony almost two decades ago, but we will be very happy to tell our two sons that our marriage will be recognized now.”

“We went to New Jersey to be legally married back in March, and it wasn’t until we sought out that marriage license did we realize how important this was to us,” said Thomas Waters of Pittsburgh.  “We have been together for 17 years and we own a home together and if anything happened to either one of us, it means the world to know that we would be able to protect our family. You can’t put a price tag on that. We hope we can get a Pennsylvania license in time for our ceremony this weekend.”

“My husband and I have been together over 30 years, and when we first got together, marriage didn’t seem like a possibility. When we finally decided to get married, after such a long time, we were surprised how meaningful it felt and how important it was to share this commitment with our family,” said Chris Gatesman of Mechanicsburg. “The protections that come with marriage are not only important to us, but equally so for our daughter and extended family. This state recognition is invaluable.”

“My wife, Anne, and I have been together for over 20 years and just got married in Maryland this past November. We are happy today because this decision is about society recognizing our relationship and the commitment we have made, just like it does for every other married couple, “ said Ami Levin of New Cumberland.

“We both felt married for a long time through the support of our families and in our community, but having the legal protections of marriage is very important in so many ways. The only right decision that Pennsylvania can make is to get on board the equality train. I hope that soon we can go to any state in the union and be recognized and welcomed as a married couple,” added Ami’s wife, Anne Aufiero.

“My wife and I have been together for 13 years through multiple deployments in her military career before she retired.  And during that time, I had to pretend not to exist under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Since that policy ended, the day that I could go on base and get my spouse ID card was such an important and significant day in our lives,” said Janet Rich of Mechanicsburg. “But because Pennsylvania didn’t recognize our marriage, I could not be listed on my own mortgage that we got through the VA.  Now, to have our marriage recognized in our home state is a wonderful reason to celebrate. It gives us security and so much more than words can express. “

Ted Martin closed his remarks saying, “We celebrate this great decision today to allow all couples the freedom to marry, and we will encourage the Governor not to appeal. However, our work continues in PA to pass SB/HB 300, the state’s non-discrimination bill, because even if LGBT people can be married tomorrow, they can also be fired from their jobs, turned away from a business, or evicted from their homes just for being gay or transgender.”

For more details on the legal ramifications of this decision, see the ACLU Frequently Asked Questions here:http://www.aclupa.org/whitewood

To interview any of the couples from this release please contact Levana Layendecker at 267-240-4338 or llayendecker@equalitypa.org.


With 60,000 members across the commonwealth, Equality Pennsylvania is the leading organization advancing equality and opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Pennsylvanians.

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