Decision Undermines Family, Challenges Liberty & Diminishes Respect for the Law

Harrisburg, PA – Despite today’s decision by United States District Judge John E. Jones III, the Pennsylvania Family Institute reaffirms its conviction that the long-standing definition of marriage between one man and one woman is not only constitutional, but essential to a free and flourishing society.

“This decision tosses aside not just the definition of marriage recognized in law by an overwhelming majority of the people’s representatives, but the definition that has been in place in Pennsylvania since our commonwealth’s founding more than two centuries ago,” said PFI president Michael Geer.

“Children have a right to a mother and a father,” Geer continued, “and that is a right that government is bound to respect and should encourage.  Today’s decision abandons that responsibility in favor of a new framework that places the desires of adults above the good of children and society as a whole,” added Geer.

Randall Wenger, PFI Chief Counsel stated: “Today’s decision threatens the rights of those who believe marriage is between a man and a woman. As Americans we should be free to debate and decide issues of critical social importance.  Judicial decrees like today’s marginalize those who understand what is special and indeed vital about this institution  — natural marriage — that brings a man and a woman together for children.”

Marriage between one man and one woman has no parallels. Social science tells us there is nothing so beneficial to the well being of children as a mom and a dad committed to each other in marriage. This standard should be encouraged – not redefined and dismissed in favor of a new social experiment that could negatively impact children and families.

PFI’s Brandon McGinley pointed out, “This ruling short-circuits the public debate and legitimate policy process, and casts aside the will of the people of Pennsylvania and their elected representatives. This can only foster further distrust of our political system.”

The Pennsylvania Family Institute calls on Governor Tom Corbett to appeal this decision, and to make a vigorous defense of the fundamental institution of marriage at the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Despite the setback, the Pennsylvania Family Institute will continue to fight for public policy that’s best for children and families. “Our work is only more urgent in the wake of today’s decision,” said Geer.