By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Judges in two of the five Pennsylvania lawsuits challenging the state’s same sex marriage ban will have all the fuel they need to rule within the next few weeks.
LGBT advocates are hoping for a decision as early as this summer.
The first case, Whitewood v. Wolf was filed in federal court in July on behalf of eleven couples. The June trial is cancelled, with both sides asking the judge to rule on the case based on arguments laid out in briefs.
“We really didn’t need a trial because the state is not disputing the harm that our clients claims they are suffering,” says Vic Walczak, legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. He says the only dispute is whether same sex couples have a constitutional right to marry and have their marriages recognized in Pennsylvania.
“The judge will have what he needs to make that decision in early May,” says Walczak, noting the final briefs will be filed May 12th. He says no hearing has been scheduled at this point.
Malcolm Lazin works for Equality Forum, which is funding Paladino v. Corbett, a federal lawsuit that challenges the state’s refusal to recognize gay marriages from other states. They also want a decision on the briefs with a hearing scheduled for May 15th.
“The ultimate question is which one of these cases will be taken up by the US Supreme Court,” says Lazin. “The issues here are really constitutional issues and it’s important that those issues be determined as soon as possible.”
Pennsylvania is the only state in the Northeast where same sex marriage is not legal.