Mark your calendars: PA marriage equality case set for Sept. 4

a3fba0db72aec4dda154d789339d1cbb.570.0.0The Corbett Administration’s legal battle against a rogue Register of Wills in Montgomery County is set to hit Harrisburg Commonwealth Court in early September.

According to an Associated Press report, the Administration says officials in the southeast Pennsylvania suburban county are “violating the state’s one-man, one-woman marriage law.”

The tussle began in mid-July, when, after Attorney General Kathleen Kane decided not to defend the state’s Defense of Marriage Act against plaintiffs represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and others, MontCo Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes began using Kane’s rationale (that PA’s DOMA is unconstitutional) to issue marriage licenses.

“[A] lawyer may withdraw from representing a client if . . . the client insists on taking action that the lawyer considers repugnant or with which the lawyer has a fundamental disagreement,” Kane’s chief of staff has noted over the attorney general’s refusal to take part in the state defense against the ACLU.

Throughout July, the state had to find that healthy medium between being disappointed in Kane’s recusal from the case and calling Hanes’ work that of a scoundrel.

Within days of his first issuances, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Health filed its lawsuit (since it is within their jurisdiction), noting: “Ours is a government of laws, not one of public officials exercising their will as they believe the law should be.”

But meanwhile, Hanes continued issuing marriage certificates and defending himself on national TV. Efforts like his began spreading throughout the state, with officials in State College and Braddock conducting ceremonies of their own constituents. Even State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) presided over a publicized wedding.

In addition to the melee in Montgomery County, the state is currently preparing to defend itself against the ACLU and the 23 Pennsylvanians who had a lawsuit filed on their behalf.

Man, 2013 just keeps getting gayer.

Follow Randy on Twitter: @RandyLoBasso

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