In a follow up to previous posts about PA Montgomery County clerk, Bruce Hanes, Judge Dan Pellegrini has ordered Hanes to stop issuing gay marriage licenses. This is no surprise.
A Pennsylvania judge is stopping a suburban Philadelphia court clerk from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, saying it was a clear violation of his legal authority.
Commonwealth court judge Dan Pellegrini on Thursday issued an order that said the Montgomery County register of wills clerk, Bruce Hanes, didn't have the power to decide on his own whether the same-sex marriage ban violates the state constitution.
"Unless and until either the General Assembly repeals or suspends the Marriage Law provisions or a court of competent jurisdiction orders that the law is not to be obeyed or enforced, the Marriage Law in its entirety is to be obeyed and enforced by all commonwealth public officials," Pellegrini wrote.
This is no longer a local small town issue. With a simple search I came up with a long list of articles from well-respected international online media organizations that are now following the story of the unsuspecting straight family man in PA who is willing to challenge an unfair law in PA that keeps same sex couples from marrying and from being equals to other same sex couples in states where same sex marriage is legal. Hanes is doing this on principle, and because he wants to go down on the right side of history. This is from CNN.
Hanes said in a statement to CNN Thursday that he is "obviously disappointed" in the ruling and will take a few days to discuss options with his county solicitor, including the possibility of appealing the ruling. Until then, he said, he will comply with the order and stop issuing same-sex marriage licenses to gay couples.
The National Organization for Marriage applauded the judge's ruling and said it wants Gov. Tom Corbett to have the marriage licenses declared invalid, it said in a statement.
"This is a victory for marriage. We are pleased that Judge Pellegrini reiterated that Pennsylvania law expressly defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman," said Brian Brown, the group's president.
Hanes is looking into appealing this ruling.