Protesters stage ‘pray-in’ against same-sex marriage in Montgomery County courthouse

    It was a busy day at the office of the Montgomery County Register of Wills Friday. While same-sex couples filed for marriage licenses, a group of protesters staged a “pray-in.”

    Protesters are upset the county is granting the licenses even though Pennsylvania law limits marriage to heterosexual couples.

    Around noon, about a dozen protesters gathered into the register’s office and Michael McMonagle, president of the Pro-Life Coalition of Pennsylvania, spoke directly to office staff.

    “The department of health is not going to register these same-sex marriages. You’re doing a big sham, it’s a big joke. These are not going to be recognized by state law as marriages,” he said. “And I ask you to reconsider what you’re doing. You have every conscious right. We will get a lawyer to represent you if you’ll object to Mr. Hanes’ tyranny to try to force you to violate state law.” 

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    McMonagle and his supporters accuse Montgomery County Register of Wills Bruce Hanes of violating state law by issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The group has asked District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman to intervene. 

    She has issued a statement saying that she doesn’t plan to get involved. 

    As protesters recited what they called a “prayer in defense of marriage,” same-sex couples were issued marriage licenses on the other side of the office.

    Gabriela Assagioli and Lynn Zeitlin, partners of 13 years, said they’d already been married by two rabbis before receiving their license.

    “We’re all praying to the same one, so they’re entitled to pray and say whatever they need to,” Assagioli said.

    Since Wednesday, the office has issued 26 licenses to same-sex couples.

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