University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Ballen v. Corbett PB-PA-0019
Docket / Court 481-MD-2013 ( State Court )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Case Summary
On September 25, 2013, twenty-two same-sex couples filed this lawsuit in Pennsylvania state court under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the U.S. Constitution and the Equal Protection Clause and Equal Rights Amendment of the Pennsylvania State Constitution. The same-sex couples, ... read more >
On September 25, 2013, twenty-two same-sex couples filed this lawsuit in Pennsylvania state court under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the U.S. Constitution and the Equal Protection Clause and Equal Rights Amendment of the Pennsylvania State Constitution. The same-sex couples, all represented by private counsel, sued the state of Pennsylvania, requesting that the Court declare their marriages valid, invalidate provisions of the state constitution banning same sex-marriages, and enjoin the state from enforcing these provisions.

On June 26, 2013, three months before this lawsuit, the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act as an affront to the Equal Protection rights of same-sex couples. United States v. Windsor, 133 S.Ct. 2675. Pennsylvania Attorney General Kane, charged with defending and enforcing the Pennsylvania Marriage Law, then announced that she believed that the Marriage Law was "wholly unconstitutional." On July 23, 2013, the Montgomery County, PA, clerk began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

At this point, the Governor, acting through his General Counsel, filed a petition for mandamus in state court to stop the clerk from issuing marriage licenses. The state also argued that the same-sex couples' marriage licenses were invalid. On September 12, 2013, a state trial judge (Judge Dan Pelligrini) granted the petition. Directly following this ruling, the plaintiffs in this case filed this lawsuit, also in state court. (They filed directly in the "Commonwealth Court" -- which is usually an appellate rather than trial court, because the case was against the state.)

We don't have much information on what happened in the Commonwealth Court; only the docket is available, without other documents. However, several months earlier, a federal case had been brought challenging Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage. See Whitehood v. Wolf, PB-PA-0012 in this Clearinghouse. In that case, on May 20, 2014, the federal district court struck down the marriage ban. In light of the Whitehood ruling, the parties signed a settlement agreement on September 30, 2014, under which the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania recognized the plaintiffs as legally married as of May 20, 2014.

Katherine Reineck - 03/13/2015
Beth Richardson - 07/24/2015


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Sexual orientatation
General
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Marriage
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Plaintiff Description Twenty-two same-sex couples issued marriage licenses by a Pennsylvania county clerk, requesting that their marriages be legally recognized by Pennsylvania.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2014 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2014
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PB-PA-0012 : Whitewood v. Corbett (M.D. Pa.)
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
Case Studies Limited Partnership
http://www.limitedpartnershipmovie.com/
By: Thomas G. Miller
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

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

Docket(s)
481 MD 2013 (State Court of Appeals) 02/11/2015
PB-PA-0019-9000.pdf | Detail
State Court Website
General Documents
Complaint 09/26/2013
PB-PA-0019-0001.pdf | Detail
Amended Complaint 11/08/2013
PB-PA-0019-0002.pdf | Detail
Stipulation for Settlement and Dismissal 09/30/2014
PB-PA-0019-0003.pdf | Detail
Judges Pellegrini, Dante Court not on record
PB-PA-0019-0003
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Barry, Joanna L. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0019-0001 | PB-PA-0019-0002 | PB-PA-0019-0003 | PB-PA-0019-9000
Bilus, Alexander R. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0019-0001 | PB-PA-0019-0002 | PB-PA-0019-0003 | PB-PA-0019-9000
Cohen, David Samuel (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0019-9000
Heim, Robert C. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0019-0001 | PB-PA-0019-0002 | PB-PA-0019-0003 | PB-PA-0019-9000
Hopkins, Nathaniel T. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0019-9000
McEnroe, William T. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0019-0001 | PB-PA-0019-0002 | PB-PA-0019-0003 | PB-PA-0019-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Frank, Joel L. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0019-0003 | PB-PA-0019-9000
Giunta, M. Abbegael (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0019-9000
Lamb, William H. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0019-0003 | PB-PA-0019-9000
Miner, Audrey F. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0019-9000
Neuhauser, Gregory R. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0019-9000
Taylor, Alison (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0019-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -