Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage was deemed unconstitutional by a federal judge on Tuesday, but State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham has been ahead of that curve for almost a year.
This past August, she hosted the first same-sex marriage in State College after proclaiming she would honor anyone with a valid license. She didn’t perform the marriage, as that would be a violation of her oath of office, but it didn’t matter — the marriage was still illegal in the state of Pennsylvania at the time despite the license the couple had been issued from Montgomery County. The licenses issued there were nullified after a few court battles.
But with Gov. Tom Corbett’s announcement that the decision will not be appealed, same-sex marriage will proceed unencumbered in Pennsylvania.
“I’m really delighted,” said Goreham, the second-term Democrat. “To me, it’s a matter of civil right and not religious faith.”
Goreham said she received a mixture of feedback when she hosted the same-sex marriage in August. Though in New York currently, she was in touch with the couple she hosted, Gregory Scalzo and Joseph Davis, on Tuesday.
“They were on pins and needles yesterday,” Goreham said. “They were overjoyed when it happened. We both feel that we helped in some small way, this whole effort, to designate the desire for marriage equality.”
Allison Subasic, the director of the LGBTA Resources Center at Penn State, said she hadn’t spoken to Goreham about the marriage she hosted, but called it wonderful. She also noted that there has been a very positive response in State College.
“I’m a little surprised because it’s so consverative in PA, but I’m very happy that it did pass and we weren’t one for the last states to do it,” Subasic said.
Goreham joked that she didn’t know if the marriage she hosted was the first in Pennsylvania, but maybe it was the last illegal one.
“We’re very relieved and happy to be able to offer the same right to everyone now,” Goreham said.