The American Civil Liberties Union says it has filed the first known legal challenge seeking to overturn a state law that effectively bans gay marriage in Pennsylvania.

The ACLU is representing one widow, 10 couples and one of the couples' two teenage daughters. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court in Harrisburg, also asks a federal judge to prevent state officials from stopping gay couples from getting married in the state.

If the lawsuit is successful, Pennsylvania would become the 14th state to legalize gay marriage.

A 1996 state law defines marriage as between a man and a woman, and says same-sex marriages, even if entered legally elsewhere, are void in Pennsylvania.

The ACLU says that's unconstitutional because same-sex couples don't have access to the same legal and financial protections as do opposite-sex couples.


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.