MontCo Couples File New Lawsuit Challenging PA’s Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

pa capital building

There are a lot of PA same-sex-marriage legal battles to keep up with these days. There’s the lawsuit led by  the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania that challenges Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage, and most recently, Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes was ordered by the court to stop issuing marriage licenses to gay couples in Montgomery County. Well now 21 of those couples are back with a new lawsuit of their own — one that’s akin to the ACLU’s. The AP reports

All of the plaintiff couples in the state action were married with licenses from a Montgomery County court clerk who began issuing them after Democratic state Attorney General Kathleen Kane concluded the law was unconstitutional and refused to defend it in federal court.

Both of the challenges argue that the law, which defines marriage as the union of “one man and one woman,” violates the U.S. Constitution, but Wednesday’s filing claims that it also violates the state constitution.

In another case, a Commonwealth Court judge earlier this month ordered the clerk, D. Bruce Hanes, to stop issuing the licenses because he has no power to decide whether or not the law is constitutional. The county vowed to appeal the ruling.

The state lawsuit also asks the court to affirm the legality of the plaintiffs’ marriages.

To wrap your brain around what this could mean for Pennsylvania, State Reps. Steve McCarter and Brian Sims are hosting an informational session on at 2 p.m. on Sun., Sept. 29 at Glenside United Church of Christ (2160 Wharton Road). The lawmakers will sit on a panel with other experts, including attorney Tiffany Palmer and D. Bruce Hanes, to talk about the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Pennsylvania’s DOMA act.

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