Gay marriage advocates denied licenses in Philly
By The Associated Press
Published: Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, 6:48 p.m.
PHILADELPHIA — Marriage bureau officials in Philadelphia expressed their support on Tuesday for same-sex couples but said they cannot grant them marriage licenses until the law changes in Pennsylvania.
The comments were made as advocates pursue legal strategies to bring gay marriage to the state. Separate lawsuits are moving through state and federal courts: one filed by same-sex couples, the other by a rogue county official who briefly issued same-sex licenses.
Meanwhile, Bob and Bill Sullivan of South Philadelphia have found themselves in legal limbo since moving back to Philadelphia, so they tried another tack. The couple went to City Hall on Tuesday to ask officials to recognize their marriage from 2009 in Vermont, so they can access spousal benefits, such as health insurance and medical decision-making.
On a more mundane level, Bill Sullivan needs a valid ID card. Formerly Bill Slimback, he took his husband's last name upon their marriage. The federal government accepts the marriage license as a name change, but Pennsylvania does not. So he's run into roadblocks each time he tries to get a Pennsylvania driver's license or valid ID card. Without them, he can't vote.
Register of Wills Ronald Donatucci told the Sullivans he is sympathetic but must follow the law and await the court rulings. A few same-sex couples show up each month to make similar appeals, officials said.
“You're always surprised when you hear something that doesn't make sense. It's not American. It's not what America was founded on,” said Bob Sullivan, 46, who works in the banking industry.
The couples' City Hall visit had been planned for Valentine's Day, when Marriage Equality USA sponsored similar protests around the country, but a snowstorm closed city offices in Philadelphia.
A federal judge in Virginia this month overturned the state's same-sex marriage ban, and another in Kentucky ordered the state to recognize out-of-state licenses.
In Pennsylvania, an American Civil Liberties Union challenge to the state ban, filed on behalf of several same-sex couples and their children, is scheduled for a federal court trial in June.
The Supreme Court, meanwhile, has struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act but has not issued a definitive ruling on same-sex marriage.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Congressional races set for Pennsylvania
- 2 Democrats challenge for congressman’s seat in 12th District
- Filings leave Corbett facing new challenge
- Pa. turnpike crash lesson for planners
- CSX makes deal with state on shipments of hazardous materials
- Worker for Latrobe-based Xcoal on ill-fated flight
- Pennsylvania man pleads guilty to threat against Obama
- Contract arranged Pennsylvania Game Commission director’s early exit
- Supreme Court ruling to affect few bicycle trails in Pennsylvania
- Pennsylvania drug program portrayed as a life-saving tool
- Gas tax could factor into Pennsylvania gubernatorial race