montgomery county, same-sex, couples, gay marriage, money
Montgomery County is expected to announce where it stands on same-sex marriage after the county began issuing same-sex couples marriage licenses. NBC10's Jesse Gary reports.
Pennsylvania is asking a judge to put a stop to same-sex marriage in Montgomery County, while lawyers for the county say they plan to put up a fight.
Thursday, dozens of people from across the state showed up at the Montgomery County Commissioners Office in Norristown for their first meeting since the county went against Pennsylvania law, which bans same-sex marriage, by issuing licenses to same-sex couples.
Earlier this week, the Pennsylvania Department of Health filed a lawsuit against D. Bruce Hanes, the county’s Register of Wills in an attempt to stop him from issuing any more same-sex marriage licenses.
Hanes began issuing licenses to same-sex couples on June 23. He said he wanted to come down "on the right side of history and the law." Since last week, he's handed out 49 licenses to same-sex couples looking to wed.
"It's not a surprise to me that this is happened here in Montgomery county, I think we're only second to Philadelphia in being a progressive county in Pennsylvania and I think there's been a groundswell of this feeling in this county for some time," said Attorney David Berman, who showed up to show his support.
And he wasn't alone, the majority of people who showed up at today's meeting were in favor of what the county is doing and praised Montgomery County Commissioners.
Montgomery County Commissioner and Republican Bruce Castor wouldn't comment to NBC10 about where he stands on the issue of gay marriage, but he did say he believes Hanes is going about this the wrong way.
"If what happened today in our meeting spurs the legislature to move forward, I'm all in favor of that," said Castor. "I think that we have gotten to the point in the messiest possible way, but we have finally gotten there. I'm glad that it's going to be decided in a court of law."
The Pennsylvania Marriage law was enacted in 1990 and amended in 1996 to define marriage as a civil contract in which a man and a woman take each other as husband and wife. It also says that same-sex marriages, even if entered legally elsewhere, are void in Pennsylvania.
Tomorrow, Montgomery County will file its response to the lawsuit filed by the state. The county's legal team will also talk about how they plan to fight back.