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State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham Will Marry Same-Sex Couples

Since State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham was elected in 2009, she hasn’t been able to marry any same-sex couples because it’s against Pennsylvania law. While she still doesn’t have the power to issue marriage licenses, she will marry same-sex couples if they have a license.

According to WJAC-TV, Goreham would have no problem conducting a same-sex wedding,

“If you have a license, I will marry you,” she said.

The interview comes a few weeks after the Register of Wills in Montgomery County began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  Those licenses will be honored by Goreham.

There have been requests from State College couples for years, especially on Valentine’s Day, said Centre County Commissioner Michael Pipe. But each time those couples are denied because of the 1996 state law defining marriage as between a man and woman.

The licenses being issued in Montgomery County have sparked even more calls from couples in Centre County.

Some State College couples have taken matters into their own hands to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. Ron Gebhardtsbauerand, a professor of actuarial science at Penn State and head of the actuarial science department, and fiancé Greg Wright are one of 10 Pennsylvania couples and 23 total individuals challenging the state law barring same-sex marriage.

The lawsuit was brought forward by the American Civil Liberties Union and lists the governor as a defendant. Gov. Tom Corbett’s general counsel will defend the Pennsylvania statute because Attorney General Kathleen Kane said she cannot defend a law she believes to be unconstitutional, although it is her responsibility to defend the state. 

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About the Author

Jessica Tully

Jessica Tully is a first-year law student at Penn State's Dickinson School of Law. She graduated in May 2014 with degrees in journalism and political science.

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