Sunday, November 24, 2013
A federal lawsuit seeking to void Pennsylvania’s law barring same-sex marriage has survived its first challenge.
The so-called Whitewood vs. Wolf suit was brought by over two dozen gay and lesbian couples. Defendants are Bucks County Register of Wills and Clerk of Orphans Court Donald Petrille, state Health Secretary Michael Wolf, and state Revenue Secretary Dan Meuser.
Petrille, Wolf, and Meuser motioned to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing the U.S. Middle District court lacked legal jurisdiction. Judge John E. Jones III denied the motion, noting that defendants’ argument hinged on the 1972 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Baker v. Nelson that dismissed an appeal on the same issue “for want of a substantial federal question.” Judge Jones cited an array of federal high court rulings that have superseded the Baker decision.
See Matt Miller, Federal Lawsuit Against Pa. Gay Marriage Ban Survives First Legal Challenge, The Patriot-News, Nov. 15, 2013.