PA same-sex marriage debate heads to court

Written by The Associated Press | Sep 4, 2013 6:34 AM
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(Harrisburg) -- A hearing in Harrisburg will address the actions of a suburban Philadelphia court clerk who's been handing out marriage licenses to same-sex couples since late July, despite a Pennsylvania law defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

Today's Commonwealth Court proceeding concerns a lawsuit filed by Governor Corbett's Health Department against the courthouse official, Montgomery County Register of Wills Bruce Hanes.

So far Hanes has issued 164 licenses. The Health Department wants the court to stop Hanes, who handles the licenses in his role as orphan's court clerk.

Hanes says there's a conflict between the state marriage law's restriction of marriage to opposite-sex couples and his constitutional obligations.

Pennsylvania is the only northeastern state that doesn't sanction same-sex marriages or have a system of civil unions.

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