Pennsylvania’s State Treasurer has announced that he will back a couple who are legally challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Treasurer Rob McCord has petitioned to send a friend-of-the-court brief to support an upcoming case in District Court, led by plaintiffs Cara Palladino and Isabelle Barker.

He said in a statement: “As treasurer, I oversee a broad range of public programs and benefits. Too often, our state’s marriage law forces me to implement these programs and convey benefits in ways that may deprive people of their equal rights. I believe that is morally wrong and should be illegal. The statute places me in the untenable – and personally disturbing – position of enforcing and complying with a discriminatory law.

“This issue of marriage equality is personal for me. My own interracial marriage, had it occurred when I was born (and not 27 years later), would have been illegal in many states.

“Instead of violating civil rights, we should be celebrating Pennsylvania’s historic leading role in protecting and promoting the civil rights that relate to marriage equality.”

In his brief to the court, McCord detailed how the ban on same-sex marriage unfairly denied benefits to gay and lesbian couples.

In January, the Pennsylvania Governor and Attorney General were both removed as defendants in a same-sex marriage lawsuit.