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Federal judge allows Pennsylvania same-sex marriage suit to proceed

A judge for the US District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania [official website] denied two motions Friday seeking to dismiss a lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage. The challenge was brought [WP report] by the secretaries of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Department of Revenue and the Bucks County register of wills [official websites]. Judge John Jones III will meet with the attorneys involved in the case November 22 to set a date for trial.

In July Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane [official website] announced [JURIST report] at a press conference that she would 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] were in response to a lawsuit [JURIST report] filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] seeking to overturn the ban. The ACLU lawsuit came on the heels of the US Supreme Court [official website] ruling in June 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.

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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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