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Southeastern PA

Lawmaker seeks Montgomery County official's impeachment for defying Pennsylvania's same-sex marriage ban

Lawmaker seeks official's impeachment for defying ban

NORRISTOWN, Pa. - Pennsylvania Rep. Daryl Metcalfe is calling for the impeachment of Montgomery County's register of wills.

Earlier this week, the register's office started handing out marriage licenses, and Friday, two worlds collided as church groups and same sex couples shared the same space. 

Days after Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes started issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples, Metcalfe, of Butler County, asked for Hanes'  impeachment.

Metcalfe was not available for an interview, but posted about the issue on his Facebook page, saying, "It's outrageous to see a locally elected official believing he has the ability to set state policy like this from a local county office."

"He is free to say whatever he wants to say," said Hanes.

Hanes said he started issuing marriage licenses after consulting with his solicitor, evaluating the Pennsylvania Constitution and taking a lead from Attorney General Kathleen Kane's refusal to defend the state's ban on same sex marriage.

A spokesman for Kane released the following statement on the question of Hanes' impeachment:

"The attorney general cannot opine on the legality or propriety of the actions of a local official."

A spokesman for Gov. Tom Corbett reportedly blasted Hanes' actions.

Even so, Hanes said he's not worried about losing his job.

"I am doing the right thing, so it really doesn't matter," said Hanes.

So far, 27 same sex couples have been issued marriage licenses.

Officials in Berks, Lehigh and Northampton counties said they're not changing their policies at this time, but county officials across the state are no doubt watching what happens in Montgomery County.

At the close of the week, news reports were ripe with a protest. The Pro-life Coalition of Pennsylvania weighed in on the issue through prayer.

"Gov. Corbett should act immediately to state that these marriages will never be recognized," said group member Mike McMonagle.

Hanes said he will continue to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples until he is legally forced to stop.

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