US: Republican lawyers draw comparison with child marriage in case against equal marriage clerk

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Attorney’s for Pennsylvanian Governor, Tom Corbett have argued that granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples is no different than if the state were to issue licenses to children.

The administration of Governor Tom Corbett, and the state health department are currently suing D Bruce Hanes, a county clerk who has issued over a hundred marriage licences to same-sex couples, defying a state ban on equal marriage, because he said he thought it was unconstitutional.

The Corbett administration wants a judge to immediately order Hanes to cease issuing the marriage licences, however several mayors, unable to issue the licences themselves, have been conducting the wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples.

D Bruce Hanes, the register of wills in Montgomery County in southeast Pennsylvania previously said he wants to come down “on the right side of history and the law”, as he originally agreed to issue a licence to two women who contacted him in July.

While putting their arguments forward to the court the attorneys referred back to a 1996 law which defined marriage as only “a union between a man and a woman”  The attorneys furthered added that marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples lacked “value or legitimacy.”

Concluding their argument they added that: “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 American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) warned against the weddings, as a lawsuit to have the state’s ban on equal marriage ruled unconstitutional, is currently pending.

A court in the US state of Pennsylvania in September begin to hear arguments around the case of County Clerk D Bruce Hanes, who has now issued hundreds of marriage licences to same-sex couples.