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Officials say a federal judge has ended Pennsylvania's same-sex marriage ban

According to CBS Philadelphia, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III ruled that the statewide ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. "We now join the 12 federal district courts across the country which, when confronted with these inequities in their own states, have concluded that all couples deserve equal dignity in the realm of civil marriage," wrote in his ruling.

Gay marriage advocates in Pennsylvania have long since pointed to the ban's flaws: 

The ACLU of Pennsylvania represents a group of gay and lesbian couples who say the Commonwealth’s “Defense of Marriage” Act denies same-sex couples benefits awarded to heterosexual couples and is unconstitutional.

Attorneys for the Commonwealth say lawmakers have a right to define what marriage is.

However, CBS Philly does note that an appeal will presumably be filed to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Prior to the decision, Pennsylvania was the final state in the Northeast outlawing gay marriage.

[via CBS Philadelphia and Associated Press]

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