Attorneys for Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes sent a brief to the State Supreme Court today, marking the next step for Hanes’ appeal of a Commonwealth Court judge’s September decision ordering Hanes to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Hanes was sued by the Pennsylvania Department of Health in September after he’d made national headlines for issuing 174 licenses to same-sex couples, despite a state law that bans the practice.
Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pellegrini ordered Hanes to stop issuing the licenses in September, stating that the state’s Marriage Law was to be "obeyed and enforced by all Commonwealth public officials."
In October, Montgomery County officials filed an appeal on behalf of Hanes.
Montgomery County spokesman Frank Custer said Hanes’ attorneys are "cautiously optimistic" that the appeal decision will be in Hanes’ favor.
The brief filed today is a summary of Hanes’ appeal argument, which claims Pellegrini’s order forces Hanes to violate his oath as well as both the United States and Pennsylvania constitutions.
According to Custer, today was the deadline for Montgomery County to submit it’s brief.
The Dept. of Health will have 30 days to submit their appeal and then both parties will have to wait for the court to set a hearing date.