Pennsylvania court defines issues for Montgomery County gay marriage hearing

The Times Herald
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August 26, 2013

NORRISTOWN — Lawyers representing both sides of the dispute over the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses in Montgomery County were given guidelines about legal argument with a directive filed in Commonwealth Court Thursday.

The court issued an order limiting legal argument to five main issues in the lawsuit, filed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, that is scheduled to go before a judge in Harrisburg Sept. 4.

Montgomery County has launched itself onto the state and national stage by defying a state law defining marriage as a contract between one man and one woman. For nearly a month, county Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphan’s Court, D. Bruce Hanes has issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples. By close of business Thursday, the tally was 143.

According to the court directive, the five main issues to be argued in the lawsuit include whether Commonwealth Court has jurisdiction, because Hanes might be considered a judicial officer, and whether the issuance of a marriage license is even a judicial act at all.