Judge promises speedy response in same-sex marriage license case

Sept. 4, 2013 at 5:37 PM

NORRISTOWN, Pa., Sept. 4 (UPI) -- A Pennsylvania judge said he would rule quickly after hearing arguments Wednesday regarding issuance of state marriage licenses to same-sex-couples.

Commonwealth Court President Judge Dan Pellegrini will rule on a case a month after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled parts of the federal Defense of Marriage Act were unconstitutional. Pellegrini is hearing a case filed by the state health department, in which Montgomery County, Pa., Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes, 66, began issuing 165 marriages to same-sex couples starting July 24.

State attorneys argued Hanes violated a 1996 state law specifying marriage as a civil contract between a man and a woman.

Hanes began issuing the licenses to same-sex couples after state Attorney General Kathleen Kane said she could not defend the law, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review said.

Hanes has become a gay rights hero for granting the marriage licenses, NBC News said, but Hanes noted: "I don't see myself as a hero. Some people say I've broken the law, which I may have done, but I've broken an unconstitutional law."

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