Monday, August 3, 2015

LGBT leaders in Philadelphia hold rally following Supreme Court rulings

Mia Levesque (left) and Tracy Levesque with their 6-year-old daughter Josephine. Photo: Robert Moran / Staff<br />
Mia Levesque (left) and Tracy Levesque with their 6-year-old daughter Josephine. Photo: Robert Moran / Staff

Part celebration, part battle cry, Philadelphia LGBT leaders held a rally at Independence Mall following Supreme Court rulings Wednesday that shot down a crucial section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and sent back an appeal over a California prohibition of gay marriage.

"The fight for [same-sex] marriage is not over. The fight for equality is not over," said Janice Rael of the Delaware Valley Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Rael and others like Brian Green, director of SafeGuards LGBT Health Resource Center in Philadelphia, said the cheers and smiles are appropriate. But the fight, particularly in Pennsylvania, remains a significant challenge in the months and years ahead.

"When I came out 30 years ago to myself, when I came out 30 years ago to myself, I never thought this day was possible," Green said near Market Street between Independence Hall and the Constitution Center. "We will get this through. The path is clear. The road is clear."

Neither Pennsylvania nor New Jersey allow same-sex marriage currently, but the ruling open the door for questions about the protections of rights for same-sex couples married in other states now living in either of the states.

Malcolm Lazin of Equality Forum in Philadelphia said he expects that issue to find its way into Pennsylvania and New Jersey courts.

"My expectation is that will be the subject of future litigation," said Malcolm Lazin, executive director of the Philadelphia-based Equality Forum.

Contact Brian X. McCrone at 215-854-2267 or Follow @brianxmccrone on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; Follow @phillynews on Twitter.

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