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US: Pennsylvania judge in equal marriage challenge case rejects state appeal

Joseph McCormick December 17, 2013
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A federal judge in the US state of Pennsylvania has refused a state appeal to cease a case challenging the state’s ban on equal marriage.

US District John Jones on Tuesday rejected calls from the state of Pennsylvania to throw out the case on the basis that his court does not have the power to hear the case.

The call for an appellate review of the case was rejected by Judge Jones. He said there had been “substantial and far-reaching” changes in how courts treat equal protection.

The case is due to go to trial on 9 June.

Judge Jones last month ruled that the state of Pennsylvania must defend the ban, despite assertions by the state that his court had no authority to rule in the case.

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), was struck down by the US Supreme Court in June, however Pennsylvania law defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

The plaintiffs in the case argue that the law violates constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process. They incllude a widow, 11 couples and one couple’s two teenage daughters.

A 1996 state law defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

US District Judge John Jones III said he needed time to consider and rule on pre-trial motions, before setting a date for a hearing



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