Despite Tuesday’s landmark decision to overturn Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage, Montgomery County gay couples essentially can be denied marriage licenses based on one simple factor: where they live.
Last year, the county’s Register of Wills, Bruce Hanes, issued dozens of same-sex couples marriage licenses–that is, until he was given an order to cease the issuing of the licenses. The problem is that the order is still in place, despite the ruling on Tuesday. In order for Montgomery County to issue same-sex marriage licenses, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court would need to take action; so far, they have not done so. Gay couples who live in the county and wish to be married are being sent elsewhere by government offices.
Meanwhile, in Bucks County, officials claimed that more than 20 gay couples received marriage licenses on the first full day after the ruling; the Register of Wills office had rainbow cookies and other refreshments to celebrate. This is quite a stark difference given the proximity of the two counties!
We will keep you updated as more information develops.