In a quite interesting move, officials in the third-largest county in Pennsylvania, Montgomery County, have defied a statewide ban on gay marriages, conducting the state’s first “legal” gay marriage.
There’s an adorable photo of the couple, Loreen Bloodgood and Alicia A. Terrizzi, with their kids over at the local Pennsylvania paper.
The county officials made their decision to move ahead with the marriage of a lesbian couple after determining that the Supreme Court’s recent decision in US v. Windsor, striking down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), gave them the authority to do so.
Now, one could argue that that’s a bit of a stretch, but the county officials aren’t totally wrong, I suspect. Meaning, I think that the Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling very likely invalidates state-based DOMAs. The problem is that you usually need a court to make that official, rather than local election officials making the call. That’s not to say that I oppose what the local officials did – I love me some civil disobedience. But I suspect we’re going to need a lawsuit to overturn the statewide DOMA first and/or challenge state election law that says marriage is between a man and a woman.
Interestingly, the Miami Herald had reported yesterday that the wedding was put on hold after the couple in question talked to the ACLU, whose attorneys had advised them not to proceed. Apparently, these test cases have been tried before, where local officials conducts marriages, and it hasn’t worked in the past.
I’m working on another post about this larger question – of when and how to pick the right legal civil disobedience, that I’ll hopefully post later today or in the morning.