Philly reacts to Supremes’ gay marriage decision

Philly reacts to Supremes’ gay marriage decision

The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down gay marriage bans imposed by states brought swift — and jubilant – reactions in Philadelphia.

Within hours of the decision, Visit Philly released a video featuring same-sex couples marrying at prominent Philly landmarks.

In suburban Montgomery County, where local register of wills Bruce Haynes’ decision to issue marrigage licenses in the face of a state ban sparked a major court fight, local leaders who backed Hanes were ecstatic.

“Love is the law!,” said Mongtomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro. “Today’s ruling marks a great step forward for our democracy and our gay friends and family. It’s also a reminder that the work of democracy belongs to the people and we have more steps to take to ensure all Americans are protected from discrimination in their workplaces and in their homes.”

U.S. Congressman Chaka Fattah, called the decision a monumental step forward in the country’s pursuit of equal rights.

“Today, I join with millions across our great nation in celebrating this landmark decision to affirm marriage equality in the United States of America. Now, LGBTQ individuals will have the right to marry whomever they choose, wherever they choose. Now, all families will have equal, protective rights and benefits in all 50 states,” Fattah said in a statement.

Democratic Mayoral nominee Jim Kenney, who as a councilman led the fight for several pro-LGBT bills, called the day a celebration.

And while the court’s decision is likely the last major hurdle toward marriage equality, there remain some roadblocks.

In a piece in Politico Magazine, Widener Law Professor John Culhane notes the ruling “doesn’t mean that states won’t try to make it more difficult for same sex couples either directly or indirectly.”

Culhane, who lives in Philadelphia, said conservative states could continue to explore laws like one recently passed in North Carolina that allows county officials the right to deny marriage licenses for religious reasons. There may also be further litigation on the rights of people who provide services to weddings — such as caterers and florists — to refuse to participate in same-sex celebrations.

But with celebrations ongoing, Brian Sims, the first openly gay member of Pennsylvania’s state legislature, said there is still a long way to go on the road to full equal rights for gay, lesbian and transgender people.

“I am thrilled for our country that the Supreme Court has come down on the side of equality,” Sims said. “At the same time, I am concerned for people who are at risk of getting fired for getting married. In most of Pennsylvania and many other states, it is still legal to fire someone or deny them an apartment, a hotel room or a table in a restaurant because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.”