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Same-sex marriage: The ACLU lawsuit

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Michael Geer, president of the Pennsylvania Family Institute, says the fact that the American Civil Liberties Union “is turning to the courts to try to redefine marriage takes it out of the hands of the people.”

Swap out the word “marriage” with, say, “slavery” or “separate but equal” or “discrimination” and the full intellectual vapidity of the argument slaps you in the face.

Extrapolating Mr. Geer's logic, discrimination would be sacrosanct as long as a majority of “the people” accepted it. Others, such as state Rep. Matthew Baker, R-Tioga, even favor enshrining marriage discrimination in the Pennsylvania Constitution. Egads.

The ACLU, on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg, filed what's believed to be the first challenge to a state law banning same-sex marriage. It contends Pennsylvania's 1996 law defining marriage as between a man and a woman violates the 14th Amendment guarantee of equal protection of the laws.

The lawsuit, sure to be followed by others, comes on the heels of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a key section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. That narrowly tailored ruling was based on the due process protections of the Fifth Amendment.

Thus, the ACLU lawsuit ramps up the legal issues and surely will end up before the high court. And if due process and equal protection truly are the law of the land, and if discrimination truly is unacceptable in any form, Pennsylvania's same-sex marriage prohibition must fall.

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