A demonstration for gay marriage rights. Credit: Metro file photo
A federal judge on Tuesday struck down Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage, the latest in a series of court decisions across the nation determining gay couples' rights to wed.
The ruling makes Pennsylvania the 19th U.S. state to allow gay marriage in a trend that has gained momentum since the Supreme Court ruled last June that legally married same-sex couples are eligible for federal benefits.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, to date, there have been at least six marriage cases filed in Pennsylvania, two in federal court and four in state court. Pennsylvania was the only remaining state in the Northeast without marriage equality. A March 2014 Washington Post-ABC News poll showed 59 percent of Americans support marriage equality.
In today’s ruling, Judge Jones wrote, “We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.”
Pa. State Rep. Brian Sims, the first openly gay person elected to the state's general assembly said "today, a federal court in Pennsylvania has affirmed what a majority of Pennsylvanians already support: the fundamental right to marry the person they love."