The ACLU today reports that “both sides have agreed” that there is no need for the scheduled June trial in their Pennsylvania marriage equality lawsuit.
A trial became unnecessary after the commonwealth stated that it will not call any experts to counter the plaintiffs’ argument that there is no rational reason why lesbian and gay couples are excluded from marriage, nor does it plan to dispute the specific harms caused to the plaintiffs by the marriage ban. All legal papers in the case will be filed by May 12, meaning a ruling could come at any time after that date.
“We are pleased that this case will be moving forward quickly. Our clients have waited long enough for the state to recognize the love and commitment that these couples have for each other,” said John S. Stapleton, of Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller.
Along with the motion, today’s filing included written testimony from six experts, including a report on the legal disadvantages that same-sex couples face in estate planning, taxes, health care, and family law in Pennsylvania because they cannot marry or have their marriages from other states respected by Pennsylvania. The motion also includes another expert report about the economic harms to the state’s economy and businesses caused by the commonwealth’s failure to allow same-sex couples to marry or to recognize their marriages from other states.
This is quite an exciting turn of events. In December the outside legal firm hired by Gov. Tom Corbett demanded to know the sexual histories of the plaintiffs in the ACLU’s suit. I’ll update this post as more details come in.