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Pennsylvania register sued for issuing gay-marriage licences

No limit to ‘legal chaos likely to flow’ from the licences, state says

Montgomery County register of wills D Bruce Hanes. Credit: hanesforregister.com

State officials in Pennsylvania are suing to prevent the Montgomery County register of wills from issuing any more illegal gay-marriage licences, the Associated Press reported July 30.

D Bruce Hanes has granted 34 licences and registered six gay marriages since he declared he would ignore Pennsylvania’s ban on gay marriage July 24.

A court petition on July 30 by the Pennsylvania Department of Health accused Hanes of “repeatedly and continuously” breaking the law.

"There is no limit to the administrative and legal chaos that is likely to flow from the clerk's unlawful practice of issuing marriage licenses to those who are not permitted under Pennsylvania law to marry," the suit reads.

Pennsylvania law does not permit same-sex marriages, but Hanes started issuing licences last week because, he said, he wanted to “come down on the right side of history and the law.” Pennsylvania is the only northeastern American state without gay marriage or civil unions.