County official calls Pa. marriage law 'suspect'

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Associated Press

Posted on August 19, 2013 at 1:32 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 19 at 2:04 PM

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A county clerk in suburban Philadelphia is defending his decision to issue same-sex marriage licenses in a legal brief that calls Pennsylvania's marriage law "arbitrary and suspect."

More than 130 same-sex couples have obtained marriage licenses in Montgomery County since the register of wills decided to issue them last month.

Democrat D. Bruce Hanes calls the state's one-man, one-woman marriage law unconstitutional. His brief also cites the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Republican Gov. Tom Corbett's administration has gone to Commonwealth Court to try to stop Hanes. The state Health Department challenge says Hanes' actions could cause serious harm.

Hanes, in his response Monday, says those harms aren't specified. He also wants the case moved to the state Supreme Court.

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