Attorney for state sees 'publicity stunt' in same-sex marriage case dispute

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An attorney representing the commonwealth in a federal lawsuit alleging that Pennsylvania's law against same-sex marriage is unconstitutional accused the plaintiff's lawyers Thursday of a "publicity stunt."

Attorney Joel Frank said the defendants have not requested anything improper in discovery, despite allegations to the contrary made in a letter to the court earlier this week.

Witold Walczak, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, told U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III that the defendants had requested private information in discovery, including the names and details of his clients' past relationships and biological information about the parents of their children. Mr. Walczak said in the letter that it's tantamount to the defense asking for names of the sperm donors.

But Mr. Frank said in a statement that his side has done no such thing.

"To the contrary, nowhere in the discovery is such information requested, and counsel's suggestion that such information is sought is an intentional and gross distortion of what was actually requested," he said.

But Mr. Walczak on Thursday said that's not so.

"We have not misrepresented anything," he said. "If you ask for biological parents -- especially when you're dealing with lesbian and gay parents, you are going to be asking for sperm donors, because that's what it is in some cases."

Trial is set for June.

Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2620 or on Twitter @PaulaReedWard.


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