Landmark gay marriage hearing approaches in Pa.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — For two months, an elected court clerk in the Philadelphia suburbs has been giving something to same-sex couples they haven’t been able to get anywhere else: a Pennsylvania marriage license.

In a few days, a court hearing in Harrisburg will focus on whether that clerk has singlehandedly added Pennsylvania to the growing list of states that formally sanction gay marriages and those handing out similar licenses, like New Mexico and California.

The state Health Department under Republican Gov. Tom Corbett is arguing that the clerk, Bruce Hanes, has been acting illegally and must be stopped.

Hanes issues marriage licenses as Montgomery County’s clerk of the county orphan’s court.

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