DOMA and Same-Sex Marriage: Love Is the New Law
Just a few days ago, Pennsylvania became the latest state to strike down the ban on same-sex marriage. A federal judge in Philadelphia ruled that Pennsylvania’s Defense of Marriage Act, also known as “DOMA,” was unconstitutional. The Law defined marriage as being between one man and one woman and went on to state that “a marriage between persons of the same sex which was entered into in another state or foreign jurisdiction, even if valid where entered into, shall be void in this Commonwealth. 23 Pa. C.S. §1704. In other words, even a couple who was lawfully married in a state like Massachusetts would not have that marriage recognized in Pennsylvania.
Judge Jones’ ruling declared that same-sex couples may seek a marriage license within the Commonwealth, as well as that same-sex marriages granted in other states must be recognized as valid marriages within Pennsylvania.
Before this ruling, same-sex couples were not granted the same protections and privileges as heterosexual married couples, even if the same-sex couple was married in a state that recognized same-sex marriage. With DOMA and this landmark change in law in Pennsylvania, same-sex couples and heterosexual couples will be afforded all of the same protections, including spousal rights and the passing of assets automatically after one of the spouse’s death.
As Governor Corbett’s announcement came on Wednesday that he would not appeal the decision, love is the new law in Pennsylvania.