Marriage equality is becoming an issue in the race for register of wills in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

Incumbent Democrat D. Bruce Hanes made national headlines in 2013 when he decided to begin issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. Hanes said at the time that he was willing to defy the state's gay marriage ban because he believed it to be unconstitutional. He issued 174 such licenses before he was sued by the Health Department and ordered to cease.

Hanes' GOP rival, Sharon Thomas, currently the mayor Pottstown, told local media this week that if elected, she would not sign any marriage licenses for gay couples.

“I am opposed to gay marriage on religious grounds, and my conscience will not allow me to sign off on marriage certificates for gay couples,” Thomas, an ordained minister, told The Intelligencer. “People should not have to violate their conscience to run or to serve.”

“I am not an obstructionist and will not force my values on others,” she added.

Several Montgomery County Democrats criticized Thomas' comments in statements given to The Times Herald.

“Does that mean, if she opposed interracial or interreligious marriages, that she would also refuse to sign those types of marriage licenses?” asked Montgomery County Democratic Committee Chairman Marcel Groen.