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The gay marriage ruling: Comes a time

The United States of America, conceived in liberty, freedom and self-determination, has had a troublingly dichotomous history in living up to that ideal.

Our Founders declared that we all are created equal and endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights. The Framers constitutionally mandated that due process and equal protection under the laws shall not be denied. Yet over our 238-year existence, we have abided slavery, enshrined discrimination, denied due process and promoted unequal treatment in wholly unbecoming “legal” ways.

But there comes a time when such behavior becomes so egregious and its blatant unconstitutionality becomes so apparent that it trumps the bigotry and prejudice that we rationalize as acceptable mores and folkways. It came with abolishing slavery, it came with suffrage, it came with ending separate but equal, it came with voting rights and now it comes with same-sex marriage.

On Tuesday in Harrisburg, U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones III, a Republican, ruled the commonwealth’s laws banning same-sex marriage violate both the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment and permanently enjoined their enforcement. “(T)hat same-sex marriage causes discomfort in some does not make its prohibition constitutional,” wrote Judge Jones. “Nor can past tradition trump the bedrock constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection.”

Astutely, the Corbett administration will not appeal.

Yes, there comes a time. And that time has come in Pennsylvania and the nation.


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