Pa. Governor: Same-Sex Marriage Licenses Not Valid

Thursday, 29 Aug 2013 01:37 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Lawyers for Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett say marriage licenses given to same-sex couples in the Keystone State are invalid because gays are barred from tying the knot — just like 12-year-olds.

The Republican governor filed a lawsuit to block same-sex marriage licenses after Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes issued 154 of them to gay and lesbian couples over the past four weeks.

In the legal filing on Wednesday, state attorneys said those marriage licenses were never valid, philly.com reports.

The filing compared gay and lesbian couples to "12-year-olds" who are also barred from marrying under state law.

"This case is about one thing: whether a local official may willfully disregard a statute based on his personal legal opinion that the statute is unconstitutional," the brief said.

A 1996 state law says only men and women can marry, but Hanes argues that the statute is unconstitutional and discriminatory. He plans to fight the governor's lawsuit, which is expected to come before a state judge next week.

Meanwhile, CBS Philly reports a new poll showing the decision by Hanes to issue licenses to same sex couples is widely unpopular with Pennsylvania voters.

The Franklin and Marshall College Poll found that a majority of state residents do support same sex marriage in Pennsylvania. But Poll Director Terry Madonna told CBS Philly that a larger majority believes it is wrong for elected officials like Hanes to ignore laws they disagree with.

"Seventy-six percent find that practice unacceptable, even though 54 percent of Pennsylvanians support gay marriage," Madonna said. "So the issue here is not support of gay marriage, but the way in which some officials in this state believe it ought to be accomplished."


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