Pa. county defends granting gay marriage licenses

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Lawyers are asking a Pennsylvania court to throw out a lawsuit that seeks to stop a rogue county official from issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

The state Health Department sued Montgomery County clerk D. Bruce Hanes earlier this week. Hanes has been violating state law by granting marriage licenses to gay couples.

Attorneys for Hanes responded to the lawsuit on Friday. They argue that Pennsylvania’s law against same-sex marriage violates the state and U.S. constitutions.

Moreover, they say only the attorney general or district attorney can file such a complaint. They also asked for the case to be transferred to the state Supreme Court.

Hanes has issued more than three dozen marriage licenses to gay couples since July 24. Pennsylvania is the only northeastern state without gay marriage or civil unions.

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