PENNSYLVANIA: State Demands To Know Sexual Histories Of Marriage Plaintiffs

Back in September, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett hired former state Supreme Court Justice William Lamb (left) to defend the state against a marriage equality lawsuit brought by the ACLU. This week Lamb filed a demand to know the sexual histories of the plaintiffs.

Attorneys defending Pennsylvania in a federal court challenge to the commonwealth’s prohibition on same-sex marriage have asked for “irrelevant,” highly private information about the plaintiffs, their lawyer said, including whether they engaged in previous heterosexual relationships and who the natural parents of their children are. Witold “Vic” Walczak, the legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, wrote in a letter to U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III Monday that the requests made as part of the ongoing federal lawsuit are beyond the scope of what is allowed in discovery and a violation of his clients’ privacy rights.

Among the items requested, Mr. Walczak wrote in the letter, are documents showing “the natural parents” of both biological and adoptive children, which the lawyer noted would include any sperm donors; whether the plaintiffs were involved in any previous heterosexual relationships, and if so, the details of those; detailed information dating back 10 years for any other person with whom the plaintiffs resided; and the identification of “any and all health care providers from whom you have sought or received medical or psychological treatment or counseling for harm you have alleged to have suffered as a result of allegations” in the lawsuit.

Lamb  is earning $400/hour and members of his team will bill the state $325/hour each. The case is due to go to trial in June.