A recent court decision in Pennsylvania has added a new dimension to the debate over same-sex marriages in the public court system.
Judge John E. Jones III from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania said this week that the state’s ban on same-sex marriages was unconstitutional. A similar decision came from an Oregon federal judge on Monday.
Going into 2014, 32 states had laws or amendments that prohibited same-sex marriages, pending the outcome of appeals cases at the federal level. But now 19 states and the District of Columbia have taken steps to legalize these unions. And still other states such as Texas, Kentucky, Idaho and Michigan are appealing recent decisions by judges that invalidated state laws and amendments banning same-sex marriages.
Currently, two federal appeals courts are considering bans that were struck down in Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia. A split among the appeals courts could hasten the issue’s arrival at the Supreme Court during its next term.
Some experts believe Judge Jones’ opinion differs from other recent cases where federal judges invalidated laws and amendments passed by legislatures and voters, in regards to his use of intermediate scrutiny to reach his conclusions.
Joining us to discuss the rapid escalation of these cases through the court system are two leading experts with first-hand knowledge of the issue.
Mark Aronchick is a litigator and chair of the firm Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller. Mark argued the recent same-sex marriage case in Pennsylvania, along with the ACLU.
Greg Randall Lee is Professor of Law at Widener University. Professor Lee teaches and writes in the areas of Torts, Professional Responsibility, Advanced Torts, and Constitutional Law.
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