By Melissa Daniels
for The Pennsylvania Independent
HARRISBURG PA – Pennsylvania’s lawsuit against Montgomery County Register Of Wills D. Bruce Hanes, whom the state charges exceeded his authority earlier this year in issuing couples’ same-sex marriage licenses, got its first day in court Wednesday (Sept. 4, 2013) in Harrisburg, The Pennsylvania Independent online news service reported.
Hanes believes the state’s definition of marriage between a man and a woman is unconstitutional. In its case against Hanes, filed in Commonwealth Court, the state asks the courts to make him stop.
The state filed the action against Hanes knowing Attorney General Kathleen Kane would not partake in the lawsuit. Kane previously announced she would not defend the same-sex marriage restriction in Pennsylvania law, believing it unconstitutional and against her ethical responsibilities as an attorney to argue otherwise.
Kane’s announcement comes after another lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union against the state, this one contesting the constitutionality of the ban on same-sex marriage.
The Department of Health is pursuing the action against Hanes based on its responsibility to “see that the laws requiring the registration of … marriages … are uniformly and thoroughly enforced throughout the state,” according to court documents.
Because of Kane’s refusal, Department of Health lawyers had to ask for authorization from her office to pursue its case. That authority was granted Aug. 30, though a separate request would have to be made for appeals.
- Read an article by reporter Melissa Daniels, titled “Same-sex marriage lawsuit against PA clerk heads to court” and published Wednesday by The Independent, here.
Photo from Google Images