Pennsylvania state attorneys issued a brief Wednesday stating that same-sex marriage licenses issued in Montgomery County have no “value or legitimacy” because gay people, just like 12 year olds, are barred under state marriage laws.
D. Bruce Hanes, the Montgomery County Register of Wills, has issued at lest 150 same-sex marriage licenses since July 24. The Department of Health brought a case against Hanes, who says the state law is unconstitutional and discriminatory.
Republican Gov. Tom Corbett filed a lawsuit to stop Montgomery county same-sex marriage in July, citing a 1996 law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Corbett said halting the practice “would have no direct effect” on couples who already received a license, but the state attorneys’ brief appears to invalidate those marriages.
"Had the clerk issued marriage licenses to 12 year olds in violation of state law, would anyone seriously contend that each 12 year old ... is entitled to a hearing on the validity of his 'license'?'' state attorneys wrote, according to Philly.com.
More than 30 same-sex couples want to stand by Hanes and are worried their marriages while be invalidated if there is a ruling against him. But the state opposed their participation in the trial, telling them they will have to file suits of their own against the marriage 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 state attorneys said.
Hanes is expected to appear in Commonwealth Court next week.