Your Mid-Week Happy Time!
Montgomery County has become the site of Pennsylvania’s first same-sex marriage. County Register of Wills, Bruce Hanes, announced yesterday that he would immediately start issuing licenses to same-sex couples, and followed through today. The first license goes to a lesbian couple who have been in a committed relationship for 17 years, but who had been unable to marry. Yay!
Of course, this is in direct opposition to Pennsylvania law which bans gay marriage. Or does it? Hanes explains his reasoning:
When I took the oath of office 19 months ago, I swore to uphold the U.S. and the Pennsylvania Constitutions. Article 1 Section 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, aptly entitled “Inherent rights of mankind,” says “all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent and indefeasible rights, among which is “pursuing their own happiness.”
Article 1, Section 26 of the Constitution says, “Neither the Commonwealth nor any political subdivision thereof shall deny to any person the enjoyment of any civil right, nor discriminate against any person in the exercise of any civil right.”
This follows the filing of an ACLU suit challenging the state’s ban. Predictably, there will be calls for the ouster of Bruce Hanes, and probably some gnashing of teeth, etc… but on that we shall not dwell! Thank you, Bruce Hanes — today’s civil rights hero!