PA Gov. Corbett won’t appeal marriage ruling; PA is 19th marriage state!

Today, May 21, 24 hours after a federal judge struck down Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex couples from marriage, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett announced that he would not appeal the decision. Since Gov. Corbett is not appealing - and Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has already stated that she would not defend discrimination - this means that Pennsylvania is officially the 19th state with the freedom to marry for same-sex couples!

Gov. Corbett said in a statement:

"I have thoroughly reviewed Judge Jones’ opinion in the Whitewood case. Given the high legal threshold set forth by Judge Jones in this case, the case is extremely unlikely to succeed on appeal. Therefore, after review of the opinion and on the advice of my Commonwealth legal team, I have decided not to appeal Judge Jones’ decision."

Freedom to Marry founder and president Evan Wolfson commented on the news today. He said:

Governor Corbett's decision not to waste taxpayers' money defending the indefensible denial of the freedom to marry even one day longer is the right decision for Pennsylvania, for families, and for the country - and one more big step forward to celebrate. Pennsylvania is showing the country that when gay couples share in the freedom to marry, it's joy, love, security, and happiness and a stronger community for everyone, and no one loses. And this latest decision by a Republican governor not to try to keep gay couples from marrying is additional proof that all of America is ready for the freedom to marry."

In the hours after Judge Jones' ruling came down striking down the ban on marriage for same-sex couples, lawmakers from across the state of Pennsylvania have stepped forward announcing their support and congratulating all of the same-sex couples celebrating this historic day. Here are some great statements from PA legislators celebrating:

PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane

"This is an historic day. More importantly, today brings justice to Pennsylvanians who have suffered from unequal protection under the law because of their sexual orientation. When state-sponsored inequality exists, citizens are deprived of the full protections that the Constitution guarantees. Our Commonwealth progressed today and so have the hopes and dreams of many who suffer from inequality."

"Today, in Pennsylvania, the Constitution prevailed. Inequality in any form is unacceptable and it has never stood the test of time. I have remained steadfast in my decision not to defend Pennsylvania’s Defense of Marriage Act because I made a legal determination as to the unconstitutionality of this law. I am pleased that a learned legal mind such as Judge Jones ruled similarly."

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA)

"I'm pleased that the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania today struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage. This was the right decision and is a step forward for equality in our Commonwealth and in the Nation."

"As a U.S. Senator representing Pennsylvania, I have heard from many LGBT Pennsylvanians and their families who want nothing more than equal rights under the law. As one mother from Pennsylvania said in a letter to me: 'My kids have two proud and loving parents who are honest [and] work hard. I want my kids to know they are equal and our family is equal . . . I just want my family to be treated equally and with respect by my state and federal government.' I believe this decision is a critical step toward achieving equal rights for all Pennsylvanians."

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter

"After nearly two decades of discrimination under Pennsylvania’s DOMA, same sex individuals, couples and families will finally be treated equally. I have said many times that I am looking forward to the day when I can legally marry same-sex couples. I have a number of friends who have been waiting for me to legally perform their marriage ceremony. With Judge Jones’ decision, I will finally be able to do so. But, the fight for civil rights and human rights continues in Philadelphia and all across the United States.”

"In my work as national Co-Chair of Freedom to Marry’s Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, I have encouraged other mayors to come out in support of marriage equality. As elected officials, we must represent the interests of all of our constituents – every person, every family and every life. In Philadelphia, the birthplace of democracy, and Pennsylvania, a state founded on the basic tenets of tolerance, we all benefit when the rights of a group are attained or reaffirmed."

U.S. Congressman Charlie Dent (R-PA)

"U.S. District Judge John E. Jones's ruling on this issue appears to be the final legal say on this matter. To all the individuals who will now be able to marry as a result of today's ruling – Congratulations!"

Congressman Mike Doyle (D-PA)

"Today, Pennsylvania joined 18 other states that have marriage equality. Judge Jones declared, “We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history."

I’m very pleased by today’s decision. Everyone should be able to marry the person they love."

Congressman Matt Cartwright (D-PA)

"I have known Judge Jones for many years and was privileged to practice as a lawyer in his courtroom. I applaud Judge Jones’ decision finding Pennsylvania’s discriminatory ban on gay marriage unconstitutional and appropriately tossed aside. With today’s historic ruling, Pennsylvania joins a growing number of other states in recognizing that everyone should be treated equally under the law."