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Pennsylvania Judge Halts Issuance of Same-Sex Marriage Licenses in Montco

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CBS Local
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September 12, 2013

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — A Pennsylvania judge today ordered the registrar of wills in Montgomery County to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Without addressing the issue of the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriages, Judge Dante Pellegrini ruled that Montgomery County registrar of wills D. Bruce Hanes was acting outside his powers when he granted licenses to same-sex applicants, in defiance of state law (see related story).

In his ruling today in Commonwealth Court, the judge said that Hanes has “admittedly failed to comply with his mandatory ministerial public duty” under the marriage law.

The opinion goes on to say that even if Hanes is correct in his view that portions of the Pennsylvania marriage law are unconstitutional, the proper response is for aggrieved parties to bring an appropriate court action to challenge the law.

Hanes issued four more licenses to same-sex couples on Wednesday, bringing the total number to 174.