PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Pennsylvania’s ban on gay marriage was overturned by a federal judge Tuesday in a decision that legalizes same-sex marriage throughout the Northeast.
U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III called the plaintiffs — a widow, 11 couples and one of the couples’ two teenage daughters — courageous.
‘‘We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history,’’ Jones wrote of the 1996 state ban.
Jones declined to put his ruling on hold during a potential appeal by the governor’s office, which defended the ban in court. The order was therefore expected to go into immediate effect Tuesday, unless Republican Gov. Tom Corbett successfully moved for a stay while he appealed.
State marriage bans have been falling around the country since the U.S. Supreme Court last year struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. If Jones’ decision stands, Pennsylvania would become the 19th state to legalize gay marriage.
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