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Ex-MA Couple Wants PA To Recognize Their Same Sex Marriage

September 30, 2013

PHILADELPHIA - A same-sex couple, married legally in Massachusetts, is filing suit to have the union recognized in their new home state of Pennsylvania. Isabelle Barker and Carla Palladino claimed that by not recognizing their marriage, Pennsylvania is denying them hundreds of benefits that opposite-sex couples traditionally receive ranging from medical to taxes to home ownership. Palladino said the message is clear.

"My Massachusetts marriage certificate is the same as any other couple that comes from Massachusetts. It seems to me that that's the essence of discrimination, if you're taking the same piece of paper and you're treating it differently because of our status," Palladino said.

Malcom Lazin, executive director of the Equality Forum, said the issue puts Pennsylvania in a bad light.

"They moved to Pennsylvania in order to pursue job opportunity, and what they found was that their marriage was considered null and void," Lazin said.

Michael Banks, the plaintiffs' attorney, claimed that, by failing to recognize their union, Pennsylvania is violating the women's constitutional right to travel among states without penalty, as well as a guarantee that states uphold judgments and decrees cast in other states.

"We believe it's critically important to emphasize the dignity that should be accorded in Pennsylvania and in every state to marriages that are lawfully drafted in states like Massachusetts," Banks said.

Pennsylvania remains the only state in the Northeast that does not allow same sex marriages. It also will not recognize same-sex marriages that are legally done in other states. Gov. Tom Corbett has said all laws are presumed to be constitutional and are to be defended, and that Pennsylvania's ban on same sex marriage fits into that category.

Tom Joseph/Diane Ronayne, Public News Service - PA