A federal judge in Pennsylvania — one appointed by George W. Bush, no less — has struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage, joining the rest of the region in modern times. Pennsylvania becomes the 19th state in the U.S., and the last in the northeast, to allow gay marriage, and the ruling marks the 19th consecutive victory in state and federal court for marriage equality since last year's Supreme Court decision in Windsor v. United States. It's also the second time in two days that a ban has been struck down following yesterday's decision in Oregon.
"We now join the twelve federal district courts across the country which, when confronted with these inequities in their own states, have concluded that all couples deserve equal dignity in the realm of civil marriage," wrote U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones III. "Because these laws are unconstitutional, we shall enter an order permanently enjoining their enforcement. By virtue of this ruling, same-sex couples who seek to marry in Pennsylvania may do so, and already married same-sex couples will be recognized as such in the Commonwealth."
The ruling can still be appealed, but it is effective immediately. "We are a better people than what these laws represent," Jones concluded, "and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history."