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Kavanaugh now expected to meet his accuser at an open hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday. Also on the Tuesday rundown: An Albany rally calls for a million solar households; and #GetCaughtReading – a weeklong campaign for readers of all ages.

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Marriage Equality Lawsuit Filed in Pennsylvania

PHOTO: Claiming Pennsylvania’s Defense of Marriage Act violates their civil rights, close to two dozen couples are in court demanding a change in the state’s policies on same-sex marriage. Photo credit: Microsoft Images
PHOTO: Claiming Pennsylvania’s Defense of Marriage Act violates their civil rights, close to two dozen couples are in court demanding a change in the state’s policies on same-sex marriage. Photo credit: Microsoft Images
July 10, 2013

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Claiming Pennsylvania's Defense of Marriage Act violates their civil rights, close to two dozen couples are in court demanding a change in the state's policies on same-sex marriage. The lawsuit has been filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Pennsylvania and a Philadelphia law firm.

Attorney Mark Aronchick, with the law firm of Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller, said Pennsylvania is treating some residents as strangers in their own state. He added that the public has shown it is ready to embrace same-sex marriage as a fundamental right.

"If it is a matter of fundamental fairness, then it has to be a matter of constitutional fairness as well," he explained, "because that is the nature of our country, that is who we are."

Ron Gebhardtsbauer is one of the plaintiffs. He has been with his partner for 19 years and strives for the day when their union is viewed the same way as it would if they were man and woman, he said.

"Financial issues aren't the most important thing for us. It's just sort of being recognized, being treated like everybody else, so I don't have to think of Greg as my partner and use the word 'partner.' I can call him my husband," Gebhardtsbauer said.

Aronchick said he hopes the courts will come to the same conclusion as many people in Pennsylvania and across the country.

"As soon as they realize the desires and drive and motivations of the people who want that marriage, time and again they say, 'Of course that is something I don't want to stand in the way of.'"

Same-sex couples who marry deserve the same benefits as heterosexual married couples, and deserve to know that in times of crisis, their loved ones will be provided for, Aronchick added. A bill introduced in the state senate that would provide full marriage rights for same-sex couples in Pennsylvania was referred to a committee in March, but never had a hearing.

Tom Joseph, Public News Service - PA