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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Whitewood v. Corbett PB-PA-0012
Docket / Court 1:13-cv-01861-JEJ ( M.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On July 9, 2013, several lesbian and gay couples, one widow, and two teenage children of one of the same-sex couples filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The plaintiffs were represented ... read more >
On July 9, 2013, several lesbian and gay couples, one widow, and two teenage children of one of the same-sex couples filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The plaintiffs were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and private counsel, and they asked the court to declare that Pennsylvania laws banning same-sex marriage were unconstitutional, enjoin the enforcement of laws banning same-sex marriage, and award the plaintiffs with cost of suit and reasonable attorneys fees.

The plaintiffs alleged that the ban violated their rights to Due Process and Equal Protection and that they suffered harm by being denied tax and employment benefits available to opposite-sex couples, along with the social stigma of not being allowed to marry.

On May 20, 2014, the Court (Judge John E. Jones III) granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs and declared Pennsylvania laws that ban same-sex marriage violated the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, and permanently enjoined their enforcement. Whitewood v. Corbett, 2014 WL 2058105 (M.D. Pennsylvania 2014).

A county clerk moved to intervene on June 6, 2014. This motion was denied by the court and the clerk appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (USCA). The USCA submitted this case to a panel of the court for possible summary action. On July 7, 2014, the USCA affirmed the District Court's (Judge Jones) denial of the motion to intervene. The case was closed on February 3, 2015.

Megan Dolan - 06/25/2014
Thomas Topping - 03/02/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
Sexual orientatation
General
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Marriage
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Plaintiff Description The plaintiffs were eleven lesbian and gay couples, one widow, and two teenage children of one of the same-sex couples. The plaintiffs filed suit against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania because they wished for Pennsylvania to allow and recognize same-sex marriages.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2014 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PB-PA-0018 : Cucinotta v. Commonwealth (State Court)
PB-PA-0019 : Ballen v. Corbett (State Court)
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Limited Partnership
http://www.limitedpartnershipmovie.com/
By: Thomas G. Miller
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  United States Government says L.A. Gay Couple’s 1975 Marriage is Valid
The Pride L.A.
Written: Jun. 07, 2016
By: Troy Masters
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:13−cv−01861 (M.D. Pa.) 02/02/2015
PB-PA-0012-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
ACLU-PA, ACLU, and Hangley Aronchick Seek Freedom to Marry for Pennsylvania Couples 07/08/2013
PB-PA-0012-0001.pdf | Detail
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief 07/09/2013
PB-PA-0012-0002.pdf | Detail
First Amended Complaint For Declaratory and Injunctive Relief 11/07/2013
PB-PA-0012-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion 05/20/2014 (992 F.Supp.2d 410) (M.D. Pa.)
PB-PA-0012-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | External Link | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order [in response to Motion to Intervene] 06/18/2014 (M.D. Pa.)
PB-PA-0012-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Jones, John E. III (M.D. Pa.)
PB-PA-0012-0003 | PB-PA-0012-0004 | PB-PA-0012-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Aronchick, Mark A. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0012-0002 | PB-PA-0012-0005 | PB-PA-0012-9000
Casale, Helen E. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0012-0005 | PB-PA-0012-9000
Cooper, Leslie (New York)
PB-PA-0012-0002 | PB-PA-0012-9000
Esseks, James Dixon (New York)
PB-PA-0012-0002 | PB-PA-0012-0005 | PB-PA-0012-9000
Kreimer, Seth (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0012-0002 | PB-PA-0012-0005 | PB-PA-0012-9000
Melley, Rebecca S. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0012-0002 | PB-PA-0012-9000
Roper, Mary Catherine (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0012-0002 | PB-PA-0012-0005 | PB-PA-0012-9000
Stapleton, John S. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0012-0002 | PB-PA-0012-9000
Steinberg, Dylan J. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0012-0002 | PB-PA-0012-9000
Tack-Hooper, Molly M. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0012-0002 | PB-PA-0012-9000
Walczak, Witold J. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0012-0002 | PB-PA-0012-0005 | PB-PA-0012-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Chernak, Frank A. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0012-9000
Fox, Nathan Daniel (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0012-9000
Frank, Joel L. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0012-9000
Giunta, M. Abbegael (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0012-9000
Grimm, Robert J. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0012-9000
Jezewski, Thomas J. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0012-9000
Lamb, William H. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0012-9000
McLaughlin, John P. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0012-9000
Other Lawyers Conrad, Jeffery A. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0012-9000
Crossett, David W. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0012-9000
Smith, James M. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0012-9000
Wenger, Randalll (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0012-9000

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