Pennsylvania Judge Bars Gay-Marriage Licenses
One county clerk took it upon himself to start issuing them, despite state law
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 12, 2013 3:38 PM CDT
In this July 24 photo, Ellen Toplin, right, and Charlene Kurland show their new marriage license in Montgomery County, Pa.   (Matt Rourke)

(Newser) – A Pennsylvania judge today ordered a suburban Philadelphia court clerk to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pellegrini said Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes did not have the power to decide on his own whether Pennsylvania's same-sex marriage ban violates the state constitution. It was not immediately clear what the decision will mean for the 174 couples who obtained licenses.

"Unless and until either the General Assembly repeals or suspends the Marriage Law provisions or a court of competent jurisdiction orders that the law is not to be obeyed or enforced, the Marriage Law in its entirety is to be obeyed and enforced by all commonwealth public officials," Pellegrini wrote. Hanes said he would comply but is considering an appeal. The state Health Department under Republican Gov. Tom Corbett took Hanes to court after he began issuing licenses to same-sex couples in July, despite a 1996 state law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Hanes acted after the Supreme Court struck down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act.

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Showing 3 of 178 comments
river291
Sep 13, 2013 1:51 PM CDT
I wish this judge would tell the Colorado sheriffs that they can't decide on their own to not enforce Colorado's very modest gun control measures...
K.C.
Sep 13, 2013 12:32 PM CDT
Well... There have been so many comments about this incendiary issue that I can't even find the place to reply to individuals. I will just say that this issue is moot. No argument is going to convince anybody of anything. When we Christians "fight the good fight" we have to do it with a teaching attitude.only when asked. We have to take a defensive stance. At the same time, we want to bring the Gospel to all human beings. We try to drop it at their feet by showing our kindness and not condemnation. It's the fake Christians who are filled with hate, prejudice and fear.
tickle_me_blue
Sep 13, 2013 2:25 AM CDT
While I dont particularly care for the law in the slightest, the clerk was wrong to do what he did. The proper procedures need to be followed, or you end up with a case like this where probably all those marriage licenses are invalid, and those people just wasted their money and time on nothing when it could have been better spent helping to go through the proper channels so that they could have valid marriage licenses. Actually, if the licenses turn out invalid, if I were one of those couples I'd probably sue the guy for any costs related to what is now void thanks to his actions. I dont like people suing all the time, but this might be one case where the clerk could be found liable since he broke laws/procedures.