The Pennsylvania clerk who issued
scores of marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples before he was
ordered to stop asked the state's highest court on Monday to overturn
Montgomery County Register of Wills D.
Bruce Hanes defied the state's 17-year-old law which excludes gay
couples from marriage when he began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex
couples. He issued 174 such licenses before he was sued by the
Health Department and ordered to cease.
Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pellegrini
said in his order that Hanes did not have the authority to decide the
issue on his own.
Hanes argues in documents submitted
Monday that Pellegrini's order forced him to violate his oath by
enforcing a law that he believes to be unconstitutional.
Hanes acted after the U.S. Supreme
Court struck down a key portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
and Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane said in a statement
that her office could not defend the ban in a separate case because
the law was unconstitutional.