partlycloudy
Sunday July 5th, 2015 2:06AM

Defense of Penn. gay marriage ban dropped

By The Associated Press
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- It came just in time for wedding season.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of same-sex couples who live in Pennsylvania are rushing to get marriage licenses or celebrate the sudden recognition of their out-of-state marriages in their home state.

The party planning and vow taking is in full swing now that Gov. Tom Corbett ended his fight Wednesday to stop same-sex marriage in the state, allowing a growing number of couples to proceed with their wedding plans with greater peace of mind. Pennsylvania is now the 19th state to recognize same-sex marriages and the last northeastern U.S. state to do so. Washington, D.C., also permits it.

Partners of nearly 24 years, Stephen Miller and Jim Devaty of suburban Pittsburgh plan to get married next week. They applied for their license online Tuesday after U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones III struck down the law in a strongly worded opinion.

"I'm in shock," Miller said Wednesday. "In a way, I never thought I'd live to see the day when Jim and I could get married."

They'll crack open a bottle of champagne they've been saving and plan a gathering for family and friends. They're not sure where yet, but their son, 6-year-old Aiden, suggested the backyard.

Shari Gross of Erie said she and Judy Zurinski, her partner of almost six years, are legally married in New York. But their marriage in New York only involved a few friends, and they promised everyone else a big party once their home state recognized their union.

"We promised everybody that when we had equality we were going to have a party," said Gross, 51. "So we're going to have a party."

At least one couple got married.

On Wednesday, about an hour before Corbett revealed his decision, Pamela VanHaitsma and Jess Garrity of Pittsburgh were married in front of a district judge, said their lawyer, Sam Hens-Greco.

Pennsylvania requires a three-day waiting period before a couple with a marriage license can wed, but a county judge agreed to waive it, he said.

For many of the couples, it's a matter of love and dignity. For Gross, it also is a matter of the health insurance she lost with her job in January. But Zurinski's employer recognized their New York marriage as legal and extended spousal benefits.

Corbett, a Catholic and a Republican, went against his personal beliefs in choosing not to appeal Jones' decision.

On one hand, he said his lawyers had advised him "the case is extremely unlikely to succeed on appeal." On the other hand, he said his duties as governor require him to follow the law.

It has been a sensitive issue for Corbett, a low-profile former state attorney general who is up for re-election and facing poor public approval ratings. He took heat in October for comparing marriages of same-sex couples to the marriage of a brother and sister, but in recent months, he has moved to the political center and away from staunchly conservative positions on several hot-button issues.

The governor's decision means that same-sex marriage will remain legal in Pennsylvania, without the threat that a higher court will reinstate the ban. Lawyers for the plaintiffs - one widow, 11 couples and one couple's teenage daughters - said another party has never been allowed to appeal in the state's place.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 6 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 6 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 6 months ago )
U.S. News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 6 months ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 6 months ago )
Local/State News
Committee leaves transportation funding to lawmakers
Georgia will have to cover a $1 billion to $1.5 billion transportation funding gap to stay economically competitive, a committee of lawmakers is warning in a report issued Tuesday.
5:36AM ( 6 months ago )
US off war footing at year's end, but wars go on
Taking America off a permanent war footing is proving harder than President Barack Obama may have suggested.
6:13PM ( 6 months ago )
GOP leader regrets talk to white supremacists; party leaders rally around him
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
6:08PM ( 6 months ago )
Politics
Obama: Freedom is paid for by men and women of US military
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says U.S. service members make it possible to enjoy the "incredible blessings" in the greatest country on earth.He says "freedom is not free" but is paid for b...
12:45AM ( 1 hour ago )
At least 14 hurt in deck collapse at North Carolina beach
EMERALD ISLE, N.C. (AP) — A deck collapsed at a North Carolina beach house as a family got set to take a group photo Saturday evening, leaving at least 14 people injured with two of those in critical...
11:58PM ( 2 hours ago )
Gay marriage opponents propose 2 Colorado ballot measures
DENVER (AP) — Opponents of gay marriage have proposed two Colorado ballot measures in response to the Supreme Court ruling that same-sex couples have a right to marry nationwide.One measure would rede...
7:06PM ( 7 hours ago )
Utility drones could inspect equipment, scan for outages
LITHONIA, Ga. (AP) — When tornadoes and hurricanes topple power lines in the future, flying drones might be the first to pinpoint the damage.Power companies across the United States are testing whethe...
4:21PM ( 9 hours ago )
A year on, children caught on border struggle to stay, adapt
LOS ANGELES (AP) — At 1-year-old, a wide-eyed, restless Joshua Tinoco faces the prospect of deportation to his native Honduras, one of tens of thousands of children who arrived at the U.S.-Mexico bord...
4:09PM ( 9 hours ago )