Pennsylvania 19th State to Legalize Same-sex Marriage

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Courtesy MCT Campus Service

Gay marriage supporters of all kinds listen to a speaker at a rally outside City Hall in Philadelphia.

Gabi Caballero, Junior Human Rights Correspondent

The fight to legalize gay marriage seems to be heading in a positive direction for the advocates as Pennsylvania makes the 19th consecutive victory and 19th U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Court Cases have continuously been brought into the Courts and the decisions strike down state bans over and over. This has made it rather difficult for the judges to ignore the opinion of their peers as many seem to have found no constitutional basis for the bans.

Camilla Taylor, who is the marriage project director at Lambda Legal, one of many gay rights groups dealing with court cases, says, “With each one, it becomes harder for states to argue that these bans should be upheld, and it becomes harder for courts to uphold them. No court wants to be the one court that got it wrong and upheld the discrimination.”

The impact from the opinions of peers was rather evident in the Pennsylvania ruling last week when federal District Court Judge John Jones III relayed the opinions of his colleagues from Texas, Ohio, Virginia, Utah and Idaho.

Jones said, “We now join the 12 federal district courts across the country which, when confronted with these inequities in their own states, have concluded that all couples deserve equal dignity in the realm of civil marriage.”

The trend for the legalizations seems to have made it an inevitable all around win for the same-sex marriage movement with the recent rulings in Arkansas, Idaho, Oregon and Pennsylvania. Cases from Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia are waiting for rulings and may even reach the Supreme Court.

Since the last dramatic loss in federal court district in Nevada 18 months ago, advocates for same-sex marriage have made 19 consecutive wins on matters on both ends of the scale. These decisions have led to a large increase in the percentage of Americans who support same-sex marriage. Even the Republican governors who had previously backed up their state bans such as Pennsylvania’s Tom Corbett, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and Michigan’s Rick Snyde agree to follow the court rulings.

According to USA Today, 44 percent of Americans live in states that have legalized same-sex marriage. Coincidentally, 44 percent of lawyers say they have dealt with same-sex marriage or similar issues in the past. For the first time, the U.S.Census Bureau is including same-sex couples in its data on families. This is a huge step for same-sex marriage advocates that may eventually lead to the and of discrimination against gays and lesbians.