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Issuing of same-sex marriage license in Montgomery County marked by protests, signs of support

By Jaccii Farris, Reporter, JFarris@wfmz.com
Published On: Jul 25 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 26 2013 09:12:24 PM CDT

Same-sex marriage "pray-in" held in Montgomery Co.

Pennsylvania State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe is calling for the impeachment of Montgomery County's Register of Wills.

Earlier this week, the register's office started handing out marriage licenses.

And Friday, two worlds collided as church groups and same sex couples shared the same space.

Days after Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes started issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.

Representative Daryl Metcalfe of Butler County is asking for Hanes' impeachment.

Metcalfe was not available for an interview, but posted about the issue on his Facebook page saying, "It’s outrageous to see a locally elected official believing he has the ability to set state policy like this from a local county office."

"He is free to say whatever he wants to say," said Hanes.

Hanes says he started issuing marriage licenses after consulting with his solicitor, evaluating the Pennsylvania constitution and taking a lead from Attorney General Kathleen Kane's refusal to defend the states ban on same sex marriage.

An AG spokesman released this statement on the question of Hanes' impeachment, "the Attorney General cannot opine on the legality or propriety of the actions of a local official."

A spokesman for Governor Tom Corbett reportedly blasted Hanes actions.

Even so, Hanes says he's not worried about losing his job.

"I am doing the right thing so it really doesn't matter," said Hanes.

So far 27 same-sex couples have been issued a marriage license.
Lehigh and Northampton County officials say they're not changing their policy at this time.

But county officials across the Commonwealth are no doubt watching what happens in Montgomery County.

At the close of the week, news reports were ripe with a protest.

The Pro-life coalition of Pennsylvania weighed in on the issue through prayer.

"Governor Corbett should act immediately to state that these marriages will never be recognized," said group member Mike McMonagle.

Hanes says he will continue to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples until he is legally forced to stop.