Early same-sex marriages in Montgomery County could be out of limbo

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A settlement has been approved in the case of same-sex marriages in Montgomery County that happened before part of Pennsylvania’s marriage law was overturned.

Under the deal reached with the state and before Commonwealth Court, 27 couples who wed in the summer of 2013 would be recognized as married, but their anniversaries would move to May 20th of this year. That’s when a federal judge struck down Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Montgomery County Register of Wills Bruce Hanes started issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples, saying the state’s ban was unconstitutional. He’s happy with the deal.

“I believe that is the best thing for all the issues involved and I wish them the best of luck. I believe that was the point of the exercise,” he said.

Hanes beleves as many as 82 other marriages that came before a key ruling in the case should also be upheld.

“If they ask the Commonwealth for that same agreement I can’t believe they won’t ascent to that,” he said. 

The other couples in question could also get a new license.

John Culhane, law professor at Widener University, call the deal  “common sense.”

“It’s a compromise that recognizes that it would make little sense to require them to go back and redo the whole thing,” Culhane said. “Because they had valid licenses and they went to the trouble of suing to have those recognized.”

Culhane says the whole same sex marriage issue could be headed back to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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