PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - The battle over same-sex marriage in the Keystone state takes another turn.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health filed suit against a Montgomery County clerk who's been issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
According to court documents, D. Bruce Hanes issued 16 marriage licenses to same sex couples on July 24-25, 2013.
The Department of Health is seeking to stop Hanes because it says the licenses are against Pennsylvania law and may cause harm to the department.
The 20-page document, The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Health versus D. Bruce Hanes, Clerk of the Orphans' Court of Montgomery County, was filed just before noon Tuesday in Commonwealth Court.
Last week 69 News was at the Montgomery County office as Hanes issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
By the end of the day Friday, the office had issued 26 marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
"We're no different than anybody else and finally it is recognized," added one couple.
Same sex marriage is not recognized in the Commonwealth and court documents cite reasons the practice should be stopped.
The petition to the court states one consequence of Hanes' conduct is likely to be, "Same-sex couples who falsely believe (or merely contend erroneously) that they are married will apply for or claim benefits or other treatment (both public and private) that is reserved for those who are lawfully married under Pennsylvania law."
Bruce Hanes was not available for comment but Montgomery County Solicitor, Ray McGarry, in a written statement said, "While it comes as no surprise that the Corbett Administration has filed an action seeking to enjoin marriage equality in Montgomery County, the petition filed today in Commonwealth Court by the state Department of Health has serious flaws. Montgomery County will be filing a response shortly. In the meantime, the Register of Wills office will continue to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples."
The decision has already led to protests in Montgomery County from groups against same sex marriage.
Now it looks like a judge will decide if the practice should stop.
So far no court date has been set to hear the case.
A Montgomery County judge has ruled that a jury from outside the area will hear the sexual assault case against actor Bill Cosby.Read More »
- Trial date changed for woman accused of shooting, killing ex-husband
- Judge rules Bill Cosby case to be decided by outside jury
- Judge: Only one Cosby accuser can testify at sex assault trial
- Too few flushes get legislative candidate thrown off ballot
- Pete Rose appears on Phillies' wall of fame ballot
- Philly mayor: $5.7M beverage tax haul doubles projections
- Updated Hazmat situation reported in Northampton County
- Police investigating string of cell phone store robberies across the region
- Bill Cosby case to stay in Montco, be decided by outside jury
- Updated Former Montana West building sold
- Reproduction of mural fills void of original in Lehighton
- Neighbor of man shot by police: 'Fear for my family'
- Storm cleanup underway in Bushkill Twp.
- More threats against Jewish Community Centers across the nation
- Man lands in jail on outstanding warrant, $1 bail
- East Stroudsburg needs $1.8 million for dam repairs