PA County Clerk Stopped from Issuing Marriage Licenses to Gays Appeals Case to State’s Highest Court

D. Bruce Hanes, the Montgomery County Clerk who issued marriage licenses to dozens of same-sex couples before being ordered to stop, has appealed his case to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the AP reports:

HanesThe state Health Department took Hanes to court for violating the law after he began issuing licenses to same-sex couples in July. In September, Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pellegrini ordered him to stop signing the licenses. By then, Hanes had signed 174 licenses.

Hanes says the court order forced him to violate his oath by complying with a law he regards as unconstitutional. He cites the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling that the federal government could not deny benefits to married same-sex couples who live in states that allow same-sex marriage, as well as state Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s subsequent refusal to defend the law against a federal court challenge because she considers it unconstitutional.

Hanes also contends the Health Department lacked legal standing to take him to court.