US: First same-sex couples marry in Pennsylvania despite state ban on equal marriage
A same-sex couple in Pennsylvania has become the first in the state to legally marry, despite a ban on equal marriage.
Alicia Terrizzi and Loreen Bloodgood, of Philadelphia suburb Limerick, married at 8am on Wednesday, as they were issued a marriage licence from the Montgomery County Courthouse.
Reports suggest that five same-sex couples applied for the marriage licences on Wednesday in the county, following the decision of a county official to issue a marriage licence to a same-sex couple on Tuesday.
The state currently bans same-sex marriages, but a register of wills said he would issue marriage licences to same-sex couples if they so wished.
D Bruce Hanes, the register of wills in Montgomery County in southeast Pennsylvania has said he wants to come down “on the right side of history and the law”, and agreed to issue a licence on Tuesday to two women who contacted him last week.
“What we have is a law that was passed defining marriage,” said Hanes, a Democrat. “In my opinion, that law is in opposition to the Pennsylvania Constitution.”
A second couple, Sasha Esther Ballen and Diana Lynn Spagnuolo, who have been together for 17 years, also married on Wednesday.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) warned against the weddings, as a lawsuit to have the state’s ban on equal marriage ruled unconstitutional, is currently pending.
The ACLU warned all of the couples that the marriages could be struck down by courts, given the still active ban on same-sex marriages.
The ACLU and the Philadelphia law firm Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin and Schiller, filed the complaint earlier this week in the US District Court, in an effort to have the state’s Defense of Marriage Act deemed unconstitutional.
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