WASHINGTON — The ACLU on Tuesday announced a trio of lawsuits that will test the constitutionality of state laws barring same-sex marriage.
The suits, filed in Pennsylvania and North Carolina with another to come in Virginia, are part of a carefully crafted effort to capitalize on the Supreme Court’s recent same-sex marriage ruling striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act. That law, known as DOMA, barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.
Legal challenges to state same-sex marriage bans have popped up in other places since the Supreme Court’s decision last month. But the ACLU was a central figure in the DOMA case, United States v. Windsor, and it has the resources to launch a coordinated, potent campaign in the states.
State officials in states with same-sex marriage bans have vowed to defend their laws, especially those passed with overwhelming public support. They say the lawsuits seek to subvert the will of the voters.