Suit challenges Pa.’s non-recognition of gay union

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Two women who moved to Pennsylvania after being wed in Massachusetts asked a court on Thursday to force their new home state to recognize the marriage.

Cara Palladino and Isabelle Barker lived in Massachusetts when they got married in 2005 and moved to the Philadelphia area later that year to work at Bryn Mawr College. They had a son in January 2009.

The couple sued the state Thursday, naming Gov. Tom Corbett and Attorney General Kathleen Kane as defendants. Their federal lawsuit — at least the fifth pending lawsuit regarding gay marriage in Pennsylvania — seeks to declare unconstitutional the state statute barring recognition of same-sex marriages.

Thirty-seven states, including Pennsylvania, do not recognize gay marriages performed legally in other jurisdictions.

Pennsylvania is the only one in the northeastern U.S. without same-sex marriage or civil unions. A state law defines marriage as the union of “one man and one woman.”

On Wednesday, 21 same-sex couples sued in state court to overturn the state’s ban on gay marriage. That lawsuit parallels a separate challenge filed two months ago in federal court by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania.

In another lawsuit, the state Health Department has sued to stop a Montgomery County official who decided on his own to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. One of the same-sex couples married with one of those licenses also has filed their own lawsuit.

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