Pa. Clerk Appeals Ban on Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

same-sex marriage
Pennsylvania's same-sex marriage battle headed to the state's Supreme Court on Tuesday. (Laura Dye/Flickr/Creative Commons)

Pennsylvania's same-sex marriage battle headed to the state's Supreme Court on Tuesday when a county clerk appealed a lower court's September order to stop issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.

Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes landed in the public spotlight in July when he began issuing gay marriage licenses, saying that a June ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that knocked down a portion of the federal Defense of Marriage Act also made Pennsylvania's statutes against same-sex nuptials invalid.

In Hanes' appeal, county lawyers who are supporting his case argued that the Sept. 12 court order that stopped him from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples contained legal and factual errors.

The appeal questions whether the Commonwealth Court that ordered Hanes to stop issuing same-sex marriage licenses had appropriate jurisdiction in the case and whether the state health department, which brought the lawsuit that lead to the order, had met the burden of proof needed to make its case.

Hanes issued 174 same-sex marriage licenses before a lower state court judge ordered him to stop the practice, saying that a county clerk did not have the authority to ignore state law. In an interview, Hanes contended the state's law conflicted with the U.S. Constitution.

"As we all know, when a law conflicts with the constitution, the constitution wins," said Hanes, 66, who is married and has two adult daughters.

Thirteen U.S. states and the District of Columbia currently allow gay marriage. A New Jersey state court judge on Friday ordered state officials to allow same-sex weddings beginning on Oct. 21, a decision that state's governor, Chris Christie, said should be decided by the state supreme court.

Christie is a Republican who is seen as a likely 2016 presidential contender, and has treaded carefully on the issue, which is polarizing on the national political stage.

Pennsylvania's governor, Tom Corbett, opposes gay marriage.

Nils Hagen-Frederiksen, spokesman for the Pennsylvania general counsel, declined comment on Tuesday, saying that the office had not yet seen the appeal.


Editing by Scott Malone and Matthew Lewis

© 2013 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.


To contact us or to submit an article, click here.


Get Charisma's best content delivered right to your inbox! Never miss a big news story again. Click here to subscribe to the Charisma News newsletter.

Five ways to deepen your relationship with God, increase your faith and save money!

  • Deepen Your Relationship with God with a FREE eCourse: Click Here to view all of our free e-Courses. Favorite topics include Fear, Forgiveness, Holy Spirit, Supernatural, and How to Hear God.
  • Super Discounts and Close-Out Specials: Click Here to view all our bundles and close-out specials and save up to 86%! Prayer, Holy Spirit, Anointing, the Supernatural and more.
  • God Wants to Anoint Women Now: Rise up and enter the anointing of Deborah, Anna, Esther, Ruth and Hannah. You were called to go higher. Click Here to learn more.
  • Change Your Atmosphere and Circumstances Through Prayer! John Eckhardt's prayer bundle gives you six powerful books to help you pray and change any situation. Click Here.
  • HUGE Bible Sale!: Click Here to save up to 50% off a great selection of Bibles. Plus, get a free gift with each order!

Subscription Special: Subscribe to Charisma for Only $24.97 and get a free gift. With your subscription, you'll receive Born For Significance by best-selling author Bill Johnson. View Offer

Attention Pastors and Leaders: Leadership training and development are crucial for success. Enroll in a FREE 1-hour leadership mini-course by Dr. Mark Rutland. View Details

Charisma News - Informing believers with news from a Spirit-filled perspective