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PA Health Dept. sues to stop marriage licenses in Montgomery County

Timothy Kincaid

July 30th, 2013


The state Health Department filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Commonwealth Court against D. Bruce Hanes. He oversees the granting of marriage licenses in Montgomery County, just outside Philadelphia.

The lawsuit asks the court to prevent Hanes from giving them to gay couples because it violates state law.

So it appears that Governor Tom Corbett (R) has finally decided to act… and to do so in a way as far removed from himself as possible.

While it is sad to see a challenge, it is a necessary part of the process. Until a court hears the case, there is no certainty for those couples who have married using the licenses issued by Montgomery County.

It will be interesting to see the mechanics of the lawsuit. The Attorney General will not be representing the Health Department (as would usually be the case) and while I suppose that the Health Department has inhouse counsel, I don’t know if it has a great deal of trial experience. Perhaps the Governor’s office will get involved, but so far he’s done his best to pretend as if nothing unusual is happening.



Joseph Singer
July 30th, 2013 | LINK

What does the health department have to do with marriages?

July 30th, 2013 | LINK

The Health Dept attorneys have NO experience at trial or in these kinds of cases.

July 30th, 2013 | LINK

They can always find money to defend homophobic laws.

July 30th, 2013 | LINK

They’ll probably hire Paul Clement since his gig with the House of Representatives is over.

July 31st, 2013 | LINK

While I think Clerks’ duties technically fall under the Secretary of State, I believe that marriage licenses have fallen under states’ Departments of Health due to blood-testing requirements (for genetic markers) which have been abolished by most states. But inertia leaves the regulating department in place.

August 1st, 2013 | LINK

elaygee: good; if they don’t know what they’re doing, they’re all the more likely to lose, which would not only let the license issuing continue, but would add legitimacy to it.

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