State and county officials will deliver oral arguments Sept. 4 in Harrisburg on the state’s petition for a write of mandamus, which would prevent MontCo Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes from issuing any more marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The case has not yet been assigned to a judge.
The state Department of Health sued Hanes last month, saying he was acting outside of his authority by issuing marriage licneses to same-sex couples.
In a court filing Monday, the county continued to argue that the ban violates the state constitution and that Hanes, as a public official, has a duty to uphold the constitution. The county also asserted that the case should be filed in the state Supreme Court and urged the Commonwealth Court to dismiss it on standing grounds.
This is the second response the county has filed in as many weeks, following an amended state filing. The amended filing clarified the department’s role overseeing state statistics, such as marriage records, and expanded its commentary on the role of public officials in abiding by state laws.
Earlier this month, the court agreed to expedite a decision.
Hanes’ action came shortly after Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane declined to defend against a lawsuit challenging the ban on same-sex marriage, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of a key provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Hanes’ office has issued 140 same-sex marriage licenses in the last month. More than 30 of those couples announced their intention to intervene in the case.
Philadelphia Register of Wills Ronald Donatucci has declined to follow suit, saying he does not have such authority.
Mayor John Fetterman, of Bradford, outside of Pittsburgh, recently performed a number of same-sex-marriage ceremonies for couples who were licensed in Montgomery County.
And this week, State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham hosted a same-sex wedding ceremony, although she did not personally officiate.