A day after Oregon became the 18th state to recognize same-sex marriage, a federal judge made Pennsylvania the 19th, at least for now. The judge declared the state's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “By virtue of this ruling, same-sex couples who seek to marry in Pennsylvania may do so, and already married same-sex couples will be recognized as such in the Commonwealth,” wrote US District Judge John Jones. His decision makes gay marriage legal throughout the Northeast, notes AP.
The state is expected to appeal the ruling to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, though Gov. Tom Corbett will have to do so without the help of his own attorney general. Kathleen Kane previously called the ban unconstitutional and refused to defend it, prompting Corbett to turn to the Office of General Counsel to make the state's case. In siding with 11 gay couples, two teen children of one of those couples, and a widow, Jones didn't just strike down the ban, he did so with relish. "We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history,” he wrote.