Same-Sex Marriages Continue In Pennsylvania County As Courts Remain Silent

Pennsylvania state Sen. Daylin Leach solemnizes a same-sex couple’s marriage.

Same-sex marriages are continuing to take place in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, where Registry of Wills Bruce Hanes began offering licenses over a week ago. In that time, over 40 couples have obtained licenses, and despite requests from state officials, no court has intervened. Since there has been no response to the Pennsylvania Health Department’s first suit, attorneys have now requested expedited action:

The clerk is repeatedly, continuously, and notoriously acting in clear derogation of the Marriage Law. Many agencies of government — federal, state, and local — as well as persons and entities in the private sector may be misled by invalid marriage certificates that purport erroneously to certify that same-sex couples are married under the laws of Pennsylvania.

Gov. Tom Corbett (R) offered his own rebuke in response to reporters’ questions:

CORBETT: Every time he issues a license, he is violating the law. I know the clerk thinks he is coming down on the right side of history, but he has to come down on the right side of the law.

Corbett opposes marriage equality, and his office will defend Pennsylvania’s law banning same-sex marriage from a lawsuit since state Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D) has refused to do so.


It is possible that all the marriage licenses offered could be invalidated by the state courts. While Corbett prepares to defend the law in federal court, Hanes argues that the law isn’t even valid under the state’s constitution.


Hanes has filed a response arguing that the state cannot force him to violate the constitution.