Overview of Pennsylvania same-sex marriage

In a ruling that affected many Pennsylvania residents, a U.S. District Court judge overruled the Pennsylvania Defense of Marriage Act that prohibited same-sex marriage. The state now recognizes these marriages performed in Pennsylvania and in other states. Same-sex couples who want to marry in the state have the right to apply for a marriage license. Once the application is submitted, they must wait the mandatory three days to have a marriage license issued by the Register of Wills. They can either obtain this through the mail or pick them up in person.

In some cases, a judge can give a waiver if there are unusual circumstances and if the couple needs to marry immediately. However, it can only be done through the court. The courts have also determined that a person can marry their domestic partner in Pennsylvania once they obtain a marriage license. Depending on the state of origin where they obtained the civil union, they might need to talk to an attorney before entering a same-sex marriage. For example, if they are receiving public assistance or other government benefits, marriage might affect their eligibility to receive benefits.

Just as in traditional marriages, same-sex marriages performed in other states will be recognized in Pennsylvania. The person does not need to do anything different. They will be entitled to all the protections that marriage affords.

Laws in Pennsylvania and across the nation are quickly changing regarding same-sex marriage. A person should not rely on outdated information as it might no longer apply to them. A family law attorney can provide a client with the most up-to-date information and how it affects their situation.

Source: ACLU, “FAQ about Marriage for Same-Sex Couples“, August 14, 2014

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