Pennsylvania: Gays Barred From Marriage, Just Like Kids

State opposes a county's allowance of same-sex marriages

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 29, 2013 3:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Pennsylvania county clerk has been issuing same-sex marriage licenses, saying state laws against the practice are unconstitutional—and now the state capital is fighting back. State attorneys say there's no "value or legitimacy" to the more than 150 licenses issued in Montgomery County since July 24, and thus they don't merit a court defense. "Had the clerk issued marriage licenses to 12-year-olds in violation of state law, would anyone seriously contend that each 12-year-old ... is entitled to a hearing on the validity of his 'license'?" the attorneys ask, per the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Dozens of the affected couples are pushing to join in on the case, but state officials say they need to either file their own lawsuits or wait for federal opposition to Pennsylvania's law, NBC Philadelphia reports. "This case is about one thing: whether a local official may willfully disregard a statute based on his personal legal opinion that the statute is unconstitutional," the state attorneys say. Next week, the case heads to the state's Commonwealth Court.

Carina Beckham, left, kisses her partner Kim Gana during a rally for gay marriage, Wednesday, June 26, 2013, on Independence Mall in Philadelphia.
Carina Beckham, left, kisses her partner Kim Gana during a rally for gay marriage, Wednesday, June 26, 2013, on Independence Mall in Philadelphia.   (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Sean Lewrence holds up a flag during a rally for gay marriage, Wednesday, June 26, 2013, on Independence Mall in Philadelphia.
Sean Lewrence holds up a flag during a rally for gay marriage, Wednesday, June 26, 2013, on Independence Mall in Philadelphia.   (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
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