D. Bruce Hanes Appeals PA Court Ruling on Gay Marriage

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Today, Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes filed an appeal against the Commonwealth Court’s Sept. 12 ruling that banned him from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The argument asks the State Supreme Court to deem Pennsylvania’s gay marriage ban “patently unconstitutional.” Philly.com reports:

Hanes, who is represented by the county solicitor’s office, argues that “refusing to provide such licenses to otherwise eligible couples would deny them this basic civil right to marry, in direct violation of Hanes’ oath to uphold the United States and Pennsylvania constitutions.”

The Commonwealth Court had not allowed Hanes to raise constitutionality as a defense against the state Health Department’s lawsuit.


Before the ruling, Hanes had issued 174 marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. Dozens of those couples filed lawsuits to have their marriages recognized, but they have yet to come before a judge.

Attorneys for Hanes also argue, as they did in previous legal filings, that the Department of Health did not have standing to file the mandamus action against him and that the Commonwealth Court did not have jurisdiction to hear the case.