Judge: expect a quick ruling on gay marriages in Pennsylvania


A judge in Pennsylvania heard arguments on Sept. 4 on whether a county official in the state must stop giving marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pellegrini said he would rule quickly on the matter, which began when county register of wills Bruce Hanes began issuing licenses in Montgomery County in suburban Philadelphia.

The AP reported that arguments lasted about an hour, with lawyers for Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration saying state law does not allow same-sex couples to marry.

State law enacted in 1996 says marriage is between a man and a woman, but the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a legal challenge to the statute.

As of Sept. 3, Hanes had issued 164 licenses to same-sex couples. He said he was spurred on by the U.S. Supreme Court rulings on marriage equality, which were issued in late June.

Meanwhile, in New Mexico, a clerk in a seventh county was expected to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Republicans in that state have sued to stop the marriages while the state supreme court decides the issue.