A U.S. Supreme Court justice let same-sex marriages continue in Pennsylvania, rejecting a request from a county clerk who sought to reinstate the state’s ban.
The rebuff by Justice Samuel Alito leaves Pennsylvania as one of 19 states where gay marriages can take place. The District of Columbia also allows same-sex weddings, and court rulings permitting them in nine other states are on hold. Alito, who handles emergency matters from Pennsylvania, acted without comment.
U.S. District Judge John E. Jones struck down Pennsylvania’s ban in May, and Governor Tom Corbett quickly abandoned the state’s defense. Schuylkill County Clerk Theresa Santai-Gaffney then moved to take up the defense.
Jones and a federal appeals court said Santai-Gaffney lacked the legal right to get involved in the case. Those rulings prompted Santai-Gaffney to ask the Supreme Court to block Jones’s marriage ruling while she tries to press her appeal.
The Supreme Court will almost certainly have a chance to take up the issue of gay marriage in its next nine-month term, which starts in October. Advocates of same-sex marriage are on a legal roll, winning at least 18 straight court rulings.
The case is Santai-Gaffney v. Whitewood, 14A19.