APRIL 20, 2007
A woman and her illegal immigrant fiancÃ© are suing a Pennsylvania county for denying them a marriage license because the man – who has been previously deported–could not adequately prove his identity.
With the help of a famously liberal civil rights organization, the 30-year-old West Hazelton woman and her undocumented boyfriend have filed a federal lawsuit claiming that Luzerne County’s policy is blatantly unconstitutional and extraordinarily cruel as well as profoundly anti-family. Her attorneys say it is a violation of basic human rights.
The county denied the license because the Register of Wills has a policy of refusing marriage licenses to non-United States citizens who don’t have a valid visa since state law requires positive identification of all applicants. The Luzerne County Register of Wills maintains that she cannot verify a person’s identity if they don’t have official immigration documents or if the documents are expired.
In this case, the would-be groom (Jose Arias-Maravilla) is an illegal immigrant from Mexico who was taken into federal custody earlier this year for immigration violations and is in the process of being deported.
A 22-page lawsuithttp://www.aclupa.org/pressroom/aclubringssuitonbehalfofco.htm filed this week in a Pennsylvania federal court, names Luzerne County’s Register of Wills Dorothy Stankovic as a plaintiff. The suit alleges that her policy of refusing a marriage license to any foreign citizen who cannot prove legal status in the United States violates a fundamental right to marry under the U.S. Constitution. It further alleges that the county’s policy conflicts with federal law allowing undocumented individuals to marry in the United States.
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