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21 couples file new court challenge to Pennsylvania's ban on same-gender marriage

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- A second legal challenge has been made against Pennsylvania's ban on same-gender marriage.

On Wednesday, 21 gay and lesbian couples sued the state in Commonwealth Court, contending that the ban is unconstitutional according to the state constitution.

All the 21 couples were recently married in Pennsylvania after a Montgomery County court clerk began issuing licenses based on state Attorney General Kathleen Kane's conclusion that the law is unconstitutional, according to the U.S. Constitution.

Dozens of gay and lesbian couples married in Montgomery County and elsewhere in Pennsylvania this summer, until earlier this month when a Commonwealth Court judge ordered Montgomery County to stop issuing marriage licenses. The county plans to appeal that ruling.

Pennsylvania is the only state in the Northeast that has not legalized same-gender marriage or civil unions. New Jersey allows civil unions, and last year its legislature passed a marriage bill that was vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican who has presidential aspirations. New Jersey lawmakers are planning to vote on overriding Christie's veto after the November elections.