Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane [official website] announced at a press conference Thursday that she will not defend Pennsylvania's statutory ban on same-sex marriage. Title 23, Chapter 11, section 1102 of the Pennsylvania consolidated statutes defines [text] marriage as " A civil contract by which one man and one woman take each other for husband and wife." Kane's statements [WP report] are in response to a lawsuit [JURIST report] filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] on Tuesday seeking to overturn the ban. The rights group is representing 23 plaintiffs: 10 LGBT couples, two children of one of the couples, and the surviving partner in a same-sex couple. Pennsylvania General Counsel James Schultz [official profile] will most likely defend the Commonwealth, Govenor Tom Corbett [official website] and other Commonwealth officials named in the suit.
The ACLU lawsuit comes on the heels of the US Supreme Court [official website] ruling last month in two landmark same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] cases. In United States v. Windsor [SCOTUSblog backgrounder], the court ruled [JURIST report] 5-4 that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) [text; JURIST news archive] is unconstitutional. Under DOMA, couples in same-sex marriages legally recognized by a state were denied federal benefits extended to married couples. Affirming the decision [JURIST report] of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the court ruled that this provision violated Equal Protection.