Pennsylvania county registrar appeals decision on marriage equality

The Montgomery County Register of Wills has filed his appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, asking for a reversal of the order handed down from Commonwealth Court barring him from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The Times Herald reports that from the end of July through Sept. 12, Hanes had issued more than 170 marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples throughout Montgomery County, Philadelphia and the state as a whole. Many have since used those licenses to get married.

On Sept. 12, Commonwealth Court President Judge Dan Pellegrini granted the writ of mandamus sought by the Pennsylvania Department of Health against D. Bruce Hanes, clerk of the Orphan’s Court and register of wills for Montgomery County.

The order forced Hanes to cease and desist from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex applicants, from accepting the marriage certificates of the couples and from waiving the mandatory three-day waiting period before couples could wed.

Hanes’ appeal questions whether the Commonwealth Court was the proper jurisdiction to file the original petition for a writ of mandamus, because he “acts as a court of inferior jurisdiction in his role of issuing marriage licenses, a unique, discretionary function of the register of wills, acting as the clerk of the Orphan’s Court, that is not akin to the ministerial functions of Prothonotaries and other Clerks of Court,” the briefs reads.

Get the full story at The Times Herald.