Status of Same Sex Marriage in Pennsylvania

Same Sex Marriage is currently prohibited in Pennsylvania. In addition Pennsylvania’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) 23 Pa.C.S.A. §1704 does not allow marriages entered into legally in another state to be recognized in Pennsylvania.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently struck down portions of the Federal version of DOMA. This related only to the Federal Government’s recognition of same sex marriages entered into legally under a State’s laws.

Pennsylvania’s DOMA is currently being challenged on Constitutional grounds of Equal Protection and Due Process. If this challenge is successful Pennsylvania will be required to allow same sex marriages to take place in Pennsylvania and will have to recognize legal marriages from other States. Currently four (4) of Pennsylvania’s neighboring states (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and New York) as well as Washington D.C. allow same sex marriage.

Presently any disputes regarding real estate and personal property are handled as civil actions with regard to personal property and actions in equity for disputes regarding real estate and do not fall under Pennsylvania’s Divorce Code. This means that even same sex couples that were legally married in another state and now reside in Pennsylvania cannot be divorced here.

Custody, adoption and child support law in Pennsylvania do apply to same sex couples. Please check back for future posts regarding custody and adoption in Pennsylvania and their application to same sex couples.

For more information on this topic or any other topic related to issues of family mediation, custody, support or family law in general, please contact Kris Smull or call (800) 615-0115.

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