In 2013, Montgomery County Register of Wills Bruce Hanes garnered headlines for issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples — well before it was legal in Pennsylvania.
Thursday, he used that clout to endorse Democratic senate candidate, John Fetterman, the maverick mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, a small post-industrial city outside of Pittsburgh.”There comes a time when you have to be more than in favor of something,” said Hanes, from the Montgomery County Courthouse steps in Norristown. “There comes a time when you have to do something about what you’re in favor of.”
As mayor, Fetterman was the first Pennsylvania official to marry same sex couples whose licenses Hanes issued.
“When I saw [Hanes] take that brave stand, I said, ‘Hey, if anybody gets one of these documents issued here in Montgomery County, I would fall over myself to officiate that wedding’,” said Fetterman. All told, he said he married 36 couples before May 20, 2014, when same sex marriage became legal across the Commonwealth.
Fetterman, who currently polls third in the Democratic primary, hopes his unorthodox story and outsider status will help him best more established candidates, former Department of Environment secretary Katie McGinty and former Congressman Joe Sestak.
Cathy McMickle, who moved to Norristown from Connecticut in May, was one of a handful people not affiliated with the campaign or the media to attend the event.
“What he was talking about I’m definitely in favor of, full equality,” she said. “But I think most progressive Democrats are, so I’m still undecided.” She said she would have to read up more on all three candidates before making her choice.
Two LGBT rights organization in the Commonwealth, Equality PA and Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club, have endorsed McGinty.
Pennsylvania’s primary is April 26th.