Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito on
Wednesday denied a Pennsylvania county clerk's request to stay a
federal judge's ruling striking down the state's ban on gay marriage.
Theresa Santai-Gaffney, the clerk of
orphans court and register of wills in Schuylkill County, filed the
request after the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia
denied her request to intervene in the case.
U.S. District Judge John E. Jones on
May 20 struck down Pennsylvania's restrictive marriage ban without
staying his decision. Pennsylvania became the 19th state,
in addition to the District of Columbia, to allow gay couples to
marry when Governor Tom Corbett decided not to appeal Jones' ruling.
Without comment, Alito denied
In filing her request, Santai-Gaffney
argued that she should be allowed to appeal the decision because it
affects her rights and duties as an elected official and left the
state's marriage law in a state of limbo.
“[T]he only interim harm that
Plaintiffs and other same-sex couples can claim (assuming that this
Court ultimately strikes down man-woman marriage laws) is a modest
delay in obtaining the Commonwealth's official sanction of their
filing states. “Notably, even though the District Court's
order has yet to be stayed, some of Plaintiffs still have not married
their same-sex partners. … This tangibly illustrates the lack of
immediate, irreparable harm to Plaintiffs if this Court were to issue
a stay pending appeal.”
Santai-Gaffney can appeal to another