Who will oppose Montgomery County marriages? UPDATED

Timothy Kincaid

July 26th, 2013

There is debate about whether the decision by Montgomery County (Pennsylvania) Clerk Bruce Hanes to issues marriage licenses to same sex couples is civil disobedience or lawlessness and no one know whether they are truly legal or not, but one question seems to me to be even more confusing: who will oppose him?

When I first heard the news I assumed that the Republican elected officials would step in to halt proceedings. But, so far, that doesn’t appear to be happening and even the expected fiery denunciations appear to be limited to a few fringe legislators.

The County’s district attorney decided that opposing Hanes didn’t fall within her job description: (PhillyMag.com)

Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman, a Republican, said Wednesday evening that a same-sex marriage license wasn’t legally valid under existing Pennsylvania law but “the remedy for issuing an invalid marriage license does not include intervention by the office of the district attorney.”

“The register of wills cannot change the laws of this commonwealth by simply ignoring them,” Ferman said in a statement. “If that change comes, it will be through Pennsylvania courts or the Legislature.”

Pennsylvania Attorney General Katheen Kane, a Democrat, has stated that she will not defend the state’s anti-gay marriage law as she believes it is unconstitutional. And Republican Governor Tom Corbett has, so far, limited his response to a statement from his press officer:

Individual elected officials cannot pick and choose which laws to enforce. All officials are constitutionally required to administer and enforce the laws that are enacted by the Legislature. Only the courts have the power to declare a law to be unconstitutional and to suspend its effects.

But other than tsk-tsking, I can find no evident steps being taken to halt the marriages by those who are empowered to do so. I assume at some point Corbett will make some legal effort or some “family” group will seek to intervene. But I am fairly shocked that marriage licenses have been issued this long without the fierce and angry response that would have been the automatic reaction not so very long ago.

UPDATE:

Joining those who say that Mr. Hanes should not be issuing same-sex marriage licenses is the Registers of Wills and Clerks of Orphans’ Court Association, which has voted unanimously that they will not follow Hanes’ lead. (Patriot News)

Larry Medaglia, the Berks County Register of Wills, who authored the resolution, said all the members present at conference agreed they would not issue licenses to gay or lesbian couples.

“The only way that is going to change given the resolution and the sentiment in the room and all the discussion is if the Legislature and the governor enact a different law or if the courts should overturn it and mandate a change,” said Medaglia, a former president of the association. “We don’t have the authority to do what Bruce Hanes is doing in Montgomery County. Frankly he doesn’t have the authority to do it.”

Behaving exactly how one would imagine an association of county clerks to behave, the issue of whether same-sex marriage should be legal didn’t arise.

But irrespective of the resolution, they have no authority over Hanes or his decision and will take no steps to compel him to stop.

F Young

July 26th, 2013

FYI: Pennsylvania court officials approved a resolution to not issue marriage licenses to gay, lesbian couples, but cannot stop Montgomery County clerk Bruce Hanes from continuing to issue them.
http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/07/gay_marriage_licenses_montgome_5.html

Hyhybt

July 26th, 2013

As for those “family” groups, who would have standing to make a challenge?

(And the following is not a complaint, so please don’t take it as one. It’s actually amusement: on this site, right this moment, I’m looking at an ad for a dating service whose only options are “I’m a man seeking a woman” and “I’m a woman seeking a man.” I don’t expect them to get much business from Box Turtle Bulletin readers, but if they *want* to bark up the wrong tree, I guess that’s their business.)

Jim Burroway

July 27th, 2013

Those ads are served by Google, and the ads that you see are based on what Google thinks you care about, for whatever reason. When I bought some swimwear online earlier this year, I saw nothing but swimwear ads everywhere I went, including BTB. I recently made reservations to stay at a luxury resort hotel in Phoenix for Labor Day weekend. Now I’m seeing ads for resort hotels in Phoenix, also on BTB and elsewhere. Creepy.

Timothy Kincaid

July 26th, 2013

Hyhybt,

Believe it or not, we actually do get quite a few straight readers. But I doubt many will click the “Ladies On Line Now” add that is currently showing so that they can meet Liliya in Odessa, Ukraine.

Muscat

July 26th, 2013

I live in a liberal bubble but for most people it seems like a non-issue. Those that are making any noise about it are mostly supportive – local news outlets seem to be treating the story neutrally-to-positively. Tonight there was a story about a tiny group of Right to Life activists protesting, but that’s the most coverage of “anti” position I’ve seen. Corbett is definitely not out in front of the issue – in news items his statements appear as an afterthought, if at all.

F Young

July 27th, 2013

Also of note: Pennsylvania lawmaker calls for impeachment of official issuing gay marriage licenses

Richard Rush

July 27th, 2013

F Young, that would be State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, who is well known as Pennsylvania’s most notorious Super Duper Christian supremacist. His most recent stunt was preventing openly gay Rep. Brian Sims from speaking in the House chamber by saying:

I did not believe that as a member of that body that I should allow someone to make comments such as he was preparing to make that ultimately were just open rebellion against what the word of God has said, what God has said, and just open rebellion against God’s law.

If you’re in the mood to be depressed, this should do it: Metcalfe’s district has already elected him eight times as their State Rep.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required)
(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

 

Latest Posts

Colorado Store Manager Verbally Attacks "Faggot That Voted For Hillary" In Front of 4-Year-Old Son

Associated Press Updates "Alt-Right" Usage Guide

A Challenge for Blue Bubble Democrats

Baptist Churches in Dallas, Austin Expelled Over LGBT-Affirming Stance

FBI Reports Massive Surge In Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes in 2015

Baptist General Convention of Texas Warns Churches in Dallas and Austin Over LGBT Inclusion

Trump Selects Alt-Right Nationalist As "Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor"

WITNESS: Bean Blossom, Indiana

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.