Pennsylvania State Attorneys Compare Gays Who Want to Marry to Children

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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett's attorneys compared gays who want to get married to kids on Wednesday. The lawyers made the claim in a court filing as part of the state's lawsuit to block the marriage licenses a Montgomery County clerk issued to more than 150 gay couples. The lawyers argued that gay marriage licenses are invalid the same way marriage licenses issued to children would be invalid.

The state attorneys wrote,

Had the clerk issued marriage licenses to 12-year-olds in violation of state law, would anyone seriously contend that each 12-year-old . . . is entitled to a hearing on the validity of his "license"? 

The attorneys were trying to point out that their suit is only about addressing "whether a local official may willfully disregard a statute based on his personal legal opinion that the statute is unconstitutional." Comparing gay adults to 12-year-olds, some would argue, is not the way to accomplish that.

The Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Haines is the local official handing out marriage licenses. He's issued over 150 to gay couples across the state since July 24. When the state filed its suite at the end of July, he said he wanted to "come down on the right side of history and the law."

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Meanwhile, Corbett and his attorneys are fighting an losing battle against gay marriage in the state. Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has already refused to defend the state's gay marriage ban, enacted in 1996, in court. Gay and lesbian couples filed a suit to overturn the ban in early July. Kane says the law “violates the due process and equal protection provisions of the United States and Pennsylvania constitutions and is therefore not enforceable.” Corbett's administration is, of course, upset with Kane. 

A hearing on the Hanes-issued licenses will take place September 4. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.