PA court clerk defends gay-marriage licenses

Written by The Associated Press | Dec 2, 2013 2:55 PM
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(Harrisburg) -- A court clerk in suburban Philadelphia who defied Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage by signing licenses for scores of gay couples is urging the state's highest court to overturn an order that required him to stop.

Lawyers for D. Bruce Hanes, clerk of the Montgomery County Orphan's Court, filed a brief in his appeal to the state Supreme Court on Monday.

The state Health Department took Hanes to court for violating the law.

In September, Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pellegrini ordered him to stop signing the licenses.

Hanes, who has signed licenses for 174 same-sex couples, says the court order forced him to violate his oath by complying with a law he regards as unconstitutional.

He also contends the Health Department lacked legal standing to take him to court.

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