Pennsylvania Could Tip The Scales Nationally On Same Sex Marriage

01.20.14 | Bob Price

In the six months since the Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on same-sex marriage, a flood of lawsuits and legislation has pushed the United States to a tipping point - and Pennsylvania this year could be the state that shifts the balance. In 2013, the number of states (along with the District of Columbia) allowing same-sex marriage doubled, to 18. In the last month, judges struck down same-sex marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma. If those two rulings are upheld, nearly 46 percent of the U.S. population would live in places that allow same-sex marriage or civil unions. If Pennsylvania joins the list, it will be slightly over 50 percent.  There are at least seven lawsuits challenging Pennsylvania's 1996 marriage law, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman and doesn't recognize same-sex unions performed in other states.  Michael Geer, president of the Pennsylvania Family Institute, objects to the portrayal of same-sex marriage as "a growing tide," when so many states' laws are being decided in courtrooms. "If they're confident that public opinion is changing and it's inevitable, if you will - well, then let this process work. It's a policy decision," he said. "In essence, it's been taken out of the hands of the people of Pennsylvania."