Supreme Court denies bid to overturn PA marriage equality


A U. S. Supreme Court justice this week denied a Pennsylvania clerk’s effort to stop marriage equality in the Keystone State.

Justice Samuel Alito on Thursday rejected Theresa Santai-Gaffney’s bid to place same-sex marriages on hold so she could appeal the May 20 decision overturning Pennsylvania’s ban on marriage equality. Two lower courts had found Santai-Gaffney, a clerk of courts in Schuylkill County, did not have the legal right to intervene, prompting her to take the case to Alito, who is helmed with ruling on emergency requests from Pennsylvania litigants.

Alito did not issue a written explanation of his ruling.

Santai-Gaffney is able to bring her request to another Supreme Court justice, but she has not publicly indicated her next course of action.

Santai-Gaffney was seeking to become an intervenor in the Whitewood v. Wolf case, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a group of same-sex couples, since no other state officials were appealing. Attorney General Kathleen Kane declined to defend the state ban in this and other challenges, and when U.S. District Judge John E. Jones 3d issued his ruling in the spring, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett declined to appeal.

Pennsylvania became the 19th state, along with Washington, D.C., to sanction same-sex marriage.