Pennsylvania Sues To Stop Bruce Hanes From Issuing Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

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The Pennsylvania Department of Health has filed a lawsuit that seeks to stop Montgomery County Register of Wills Bruce Hanes from issuing any more same-sex marriage licenses.

Pennsylvania state law limits marriage to a man and a woman, but it is one of the few states that does not have a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Hanes, who started issuing the same-sex marriage licenses nearly a week ago and has apparently issued more than 30 such licenses, has said he wanted to come down "on the right side of history and the law."

Conservatives who protested Hanes’ actions described the law as “just discrimination.” A group of same-sex families has filed a suit in federal court challenging the law, and state Attorney General Kathleen Kane has said she will not defend it. It was that decision that Hanes said motivated him to begin issuing licenses.

Hanes says he has not yet read the lawsuit, which asks the court to prevent him from giving marriage licenses to gay couples because it violates state law.

Pennsylvania is the only northeastern state without same-sex marriages or civil unions. Montgomery County is located just outside of Philadelphia.

Sources: Think Progress, The Patriot-News