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Pennsylvania AG will not defend same-sex marriage ban

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.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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