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3rd Cir. Gay Marriage Round Up: Del. and N.J. Lead the Way, Pa. Lags

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By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on October 25, 2013 10:01 AM

Since the Supreme Court's Windsor decision finding DOMA unconstitutional, earlier this year, there's been a flurry of activity across the nation with renewed efforts in states to allow same-sex marriage.

Today, we review the status of gay-marriage in the states that comprise the Third Circuit: Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Delaware Same-sex Marriage

Delaware is leading the pack in the Third Circuit as the first state, of the three, to allow same-sex marriage. Earlier this year, in May, Delaware became the eleventh state to allow same-sex marriage, after Gov. Jack Markell signed the bill into law, mere moments after its passage in the state legislature, reports USA Today. The first marriage was officiated on July 1, when a Delaware state senator married her partner of 23 years, according to USA Today.

New Jersey Same-sex Marriage

On Monday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced that he would drop his appeal, which was likely to fail, against a New Jersey lower court's decision allowing same-sex marriage. Last year, he vetoed legislation allowing same-sex marriage, as he still believes marriage is between a man and a woman. However, following the New Jersey State Supreme Court's refusal to stay marriages until the appeal was resolved, he saw the writing on the wall, reports The New York Times.

Gov. Christie's spokesman stated:

Although the governor strongly disagrees with the court substituting its judgment for the constitutional process of the elected branches or a vote of the people, the court has now spoken clearly as to their view of the New Jersey Constitution and, therefore, same-sex marriage is the law ... The governor will do his constitutional duty and ensure his administration enforces the law as dictated by the New Jersey Supreme Court.

New Jersey is now the fourteenth state to allow same-sex marriage, reports The AP.

Pennsylvania Same-sex Marriage

While Pennsylvania was the hotbed of activity when it came to establishing our liberty and freedoms at the founding stages of our country, today it lags behind on those issues. While Delaware and New Jersey allow same-sex marriage, the Pennsylvania courts, both state and federal, are mired in litigation, with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett opposing same-sex marriage.

The state court case involves county clerk who began issuing marriage license to same-sex couples, after the Supreme Court's decision in Windsor was announced, reports Reuters. After he issued 174 marriage licenses, a court ordered him to stop, and he is now appealing the decision. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania heard the appeal in early October, according to Reuters.

The federal suit, filed by 23 plaintiffs, with the help of the ACLU, challenges Pennsylvania law banning same-sex marriage, according to The New York Times. The court does not have a trial date set, as U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III, wants to resolve certain motions, including a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, reports Pride Source.

We'll have to wait and see how these cases make their way through the courts to see if we can add Pennsylvania to the ever-growing list of states that allow same-sex marriage.

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