On Tuesday, gay marriage advocates
announced suits in three states: Pennsylvania, Virginia and North
Deb and Susan Whitewood, together 22
years with two teenage daughters and a two-year-old son, are
challenging Pennsylvania's ban on same-gender marriage.
The Whitewoods are represented by the
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which filed the case in
Federal District Court in Harrisburg. Plaintiffs include 10 couples
in long-term committed relationships plus one widow.
“What we're looking for is the
validation from the legal system that we are equal in our marriage as
anyone else,” Susan Whitewood, 49, told The New York Times.
The ACLU is also backing challenges in
Virginia and North Carolina.
Opponents won their last victory in
North Carolina, where voters approved a constitutional amendment
limiting marriage to heterosexual unions.
The ACLU said that in North Carolina it
was adding marriage claims to an existing case seeking second parent
adoptions for families headed by gay couples.
“In light of the Supreme Court's
focus in United States v. Windsor on how children are harmed
by the exclusion of same-sex couples from federal recognition of
their parents' marriages, it's clear that the harms at the center of
our North Carolina case will resonate with the court.”
The ACLU will partner with Lambda Legal
to file a suit in Virginia.