A Pennsylvania judge says he will rule quickly after hearing a case today on whether or not a county clerk had the right to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Since Montgomery County clerk Bruce Hanes started issuing licenses to same-sex couples on July 24, 164 couples who otherwise could not have been married in the Keystone State have tied the knot.
One week later, the Pennsylvania Health Department filed a lawsuit against Hanes, which was heard today. Some say the Health Department does not have standing to object, and only the state Attorney General or Governor can file the suit. Democratic AG Kathleen Kane announced in July she would not defend her state’s ban on same-sex marriage, as it was in her opinion unconstitutional. Republican Governor Tom Corbett, one of the nation’s most unpopular governors, decided he would defend the ban.
And in today’s hearing, “Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pelligrini did not signal what direction he might rule as lawyers debated the actions of Bruce Hanes, who issues licenses in suburban Philadelphia,” the AP just reported.
Hanes says, “I don’t see myself as a crusader,” NBC News adds:
“Some people have said I’ve broken the law, which I may have done,” said Hanes, while seated in his office surrounded by family photos and Civil War-era paraphernalia, as well as an 1857 newspaper clipping advertising Abraham Lincoln’s legal services. “But I’ve broken an unconstitutional law.”
Image: D. Bruce Hanes, via Facebook
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