Court clerk to stop issuing same-sex marriage licenses

Written by The Associated Press | Sep 12, 2013 1:26 PM

(Harrisburg) -- A Montgomery County court clerk says he'll abide by a judge's order that he stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Register of Wills Bruce Hanes says he was disappointed in the order by Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pellegrini and is considering whether to appeal.

Hanes says he thinks he's ``on the right side of history'' and hopes his actions have helped the cause of marriage equality.

Pellegrini says it's up to courts to decide whether laws are constitutional, not local government officials.

Governor Corbett's top lawyer says the ruling  resolves whether local officials have discretion to decide which laws to uphold.

General Counsel James Schultz issued a statement after the judge's decision was announced.

Schultz says the administration respects ``the interests and dignity'' of all parties in the case, but notes ``we are a government of laws.'' He says it's important that all state office holders enforce laws uniformly.

Hanes began issuing licenses to same-sex couples in July, after the U.S. Supreme Court threw out portions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. 

He has issued 174 licenses to same-sex couples, despite a 1996 state law that restricts marriage to being between one man and one woman.

Pennsylvania is the only northeastern state that doesn't allow either same-sex marriage or civil unions.  

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