Penn. Court Orders Clerk To Stop Issuing Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 12 2013 8:25 PM

Penn. Court Orders Clerk To Stop Issuing Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

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Rick Imirowicz (L) and his husband Terrance Health hold hands to pose for a videographer after their wedding ceremony at All Souls Unitarian Church on the first day same-sex couples are legal to wed under a new law March 9, 2010 in Washington, DC.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

On Thursday, a Pennsylvania judge ordered a county clerk in suburban Philadelphia to stop issuing gay marriage licenses. The state maintains a ban on same-sex marriage.

D. Bruce Hanes, an elected official in charge of issuing marriage licenses in the county, said the state law conflicts with his obligations under the Constitution. Hanes began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the Supreme Court decided to throw out part of the Defense of Marriage Act, and a statement by Pennsylvania Attorney General that the state's same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional, the AP reports.

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Hanes issued licenses to 174 couples and it is unclear how the court’s ruling will affect those couples. Following the ruling, Hanes discussed what might be his next steps with CNN:

Hanes said in a statement to CNN Thursday that he is "obviously disappointed" in the ruling and will take a few days to discuss options with his county solicitor, including the possibility of appealing the ruling. Until then, he said, he will comply with the order and stop issuing same-sex marriage licenses to gay couples.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.