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Pa. moves to halt same-sex marriage licenses in Montgomery County

July 31, 2013 at 12:14 AM

HARRISBURG, Pa., July 31 (UPI) -- The state of Pennsylvania went to court Tuesday to stop a county official in the Philadelphia suburbs from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The Pennsylvania Health Department filed a writ of mandamus that said D. Bruce Hanes, registrar of wills in Montgomery County, has been making false representations, The (Norristown) Times-Herald reported. In the action filed in Harrisburg, the state capital, the department asked for a cease-and-desist order, saying Hanes could do "untold harm to the public."

"The clerk's actions are in direct defiance of the express policy of the Commonwealth that 'marriage shall be between one man and one woman,'" the department said in legal papers.

Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, said at a news conference same-sex marriage remains illegal in Pennsylvania. Attorney General Kathleen Kane, a Democrat, has said she believes the law is unconstitutional, but Corbett said no court has made that ruling.

"Elected officials do not have the ability to choose which laws they are going to enforce and which laws they aren't going to enforce," Corbett told reporters at a news conference.

Hanes had no comment on the action. He has said he wants to be "on the right side of history."

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