US county clerk: I’m ‘on the right side of history’ by defying state ban on equal marriage

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A county clerk who is defying Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage by issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples has said he is only doing what is right.

The Department of Health and Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Corbett are currently suing county clerk, D Bruce Hanes after he began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite a state ban on equal marriage.

Mr Hanes began issuing marriage licenses in July after the US Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act that defined marriage as between one man and one woman was unconstitutional.

Defending his actions Mr Hanes said he was “not a crusader” and he was only doing what was right. He went onto say that “some people have said I’ve broken the law, which I may have done but I’ve broken an unconstitutional law.”

Speaking ahead of the court hearing he said, “I don’t want to speculate about the outcome of the case but I firmly believe I’m on the right side of history.”

Mr Hanes has issued marriage paperwork to 157 same-sex couples with attorneys for the Governor claiming that his actions were no different from issuing marriage licenses to children.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has warned against the weddings, as a lawsuit to have the state’s ban on equal marriage ruled unconstitutional, is currently pending.

The state attorney general Kathleen Kane has said she will not defend the state’s ban on equal marriage, following a lawsuit being filed to challenge the ban.

The ACLU and the Philadelphia law firm Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin and Schiller, filed the complaint earlier this year in the US District Court, in an effort to have the state’s Defense of Marriage Act deemed unconstitutional.