By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The momentum toward marriage equality grew stronger in 2013, as a sea change of public, legal, and political opinion on LGBT rights rippled across the country.READ MORE: 2 Suspects In Custody For Deadly Beating Outside Pat's Steaks In South Philadelphia
Polls now show that a majority of Americans approve of same-sex marriage.
In June, the US Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), ruling that the US government must recognize gay marriages conducted in states where it is legal (see related story).
Gay activists celebrated.
“Never did I believe such a day would come,” said one.
In New Jersey, where gays were allowed to take part in civil unions but not marriage, activists used the federal ruling as a toehold to push for full equality.
“Equality can’t be provided in the state without giving marriage,” said one advocate.
On July 1st, same-sex marriage became legal in Delaware (another related story).
Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, the floodgates opened for lawsuits challenging the Commonwealth’s gay marriage ban as state attorney general Kathleen Kane made this announcement:READ MORE: Camden Men, Paul Rodgers & Kamau Bradshaw, Charged For Allegedly Robbing 2 South Jersey Gas Stations
“I cannot ethically defend the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s version of DOMA.”
By October, a New Jersey court found civil unions unconstitutional, and Governor Chris Christie — who had been insisting on a voter referendum — announced the state wouldn’t appeal (see related story).
Around the same time, Pennsylvania state representatives Brian Sims (D-Phila.) and Steve McCarter (D-Montco) introduced a marriage equality bill in Harrisburg (see related story).
“The bill is simply about fairness,” Sims said.
Today, Pennsylvania remains the only state in the Northeast where gay marriage is illegal — even as the debate continues.
MORE NEWS: South Philadelphia Rowhome Blaze Sends 3 Firefighters To Hospital, Displaces Two Dozen People