Whitewood, et al. v. Wolf, et al.

Lawsuit against Pennsylvania to obtain the ability for same-sex couples to marry

Court/Assoc.: US District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania

Attorneys/Firms: Witold Walczak, Mary Catherine Roper & Molly Tack-Hooper (ACLU-PA); James Esseks & Leslie Cooper (ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project); Mark Aronchick, John Stapleton, Dylan Steinberg, & Rebecca Melley (Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller); Seth Kreimer (University of Pennsylvania Law School)

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, the American Civil Liberties Union, and volunteer counsel from the law firm of Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller filed a federal lawsuit on July 9, 2013, on behalf of 21 Pennsylvanians who wish to marry in Pennsylvania or want the commonwealth to recognize their out-of-state marriages.

The lawsuit alleges that Pennsylvania's Defense of Marriage Act and refusal to marry lesbian and gay couples or recognize their out-of-state marriages violates the fundamental right to marry as well as the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This lawsuit comes in the wake of the ACLU's victory before the U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. v. Windsor, which requires federal recognition for lesbian and gay couples who are married in their home states. Plaintiffs argue that the court should closely scrutinize this discriminatory treatment because the state's Defense of Marriage Act burdens the fundamental right to marry and because it discriminates based on sex and sexual orientation.

A trial has been scheduled for June 9, 2014, in Courtroom 2, Ronald Reagan Federal Bldg. & U.S. Courthouse, 228 Walnut Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101 before Judge John E. Jones III.

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