Cross-posted from the Pennsylvania Tenth Amendment Center.
On Tuesday of this week, the Norristown Patch announced that same sex couples can now marry in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The Patch went on to elaborate that the Montgomery County Register of Wills, Bruce Hanes, had “worked closely with the Register of Wills solicitor Michael Clarke and Montgomery County Solicitor Raymond McGarry to study ‘every aspect of the law,'” subsequent to a request for a marriage license from a same sex couple. That couple evidently bowed out, but Hanes went public with the county’s position – saying, “I cannot ethically defend the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s version of DOMA as I believe it to be wholly unconstitutional”.
From the Patch,
According to Hanes, he took the oath of office 19 months ago to uphold the U.S. and Pennsylvania Constitutions, and cited Article 1, Section 1, of the Pennsylvania Constitution, which provides for the rights of men, among which is “pursuing their own happiness”
So what Hanes was saying was that he believed there was a conflict between the state law and the state Constitution and when the law conflicts with the Constitution, the Constitution takes precedence. In other words, Hanes was prepared to nullify the state DOMA law because he believed that it conflicted with the state Constitution.Details