Target: Bruce Hanes, Montgomery County’s Register of Wills
Goal: Support county recognition of same-sex marriage
Same-sex couples have started receiving marriage licenses in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, although the state itself has not legalized same-sex marriage. These actions are taking place simultaneously with an initiative from the American Civil Liberties Union to challenge the ban on same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania.
Bruce Hanes, the Register of Wills for Montgomery County, recently began giving marriage licenses to same-sex couples after talking with his solicitor, Michael Clarke. Although Hanes works in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriages as legal, he decided that he found this to be unconstitutional and felt that it was duty to allow for same-sex marriages in his county so as to honor his oath to uphold the Pennsylvania Constitution.
Hanes cited articles of the Pennsylvania Constitution to support his argument. Among those listed were articles that stated that all individuals should be considered equally free, one that called for the right of all individuals to pursue happiness, and one that stated that the government cannot stop any individual from achieving personal happiness or deny civil rights. Additionally, the Pennsylvania Constitution states that “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania because of the sex of the individual” in Article 1 Section 28.
Hanes began giving marriage licenses to same-sex couples because he believes that doing so would allow for equality and justice for all people living in Pennsylvania, and would therefore align with the statutes of the Pennsylvania Constitution.
By signing the petition below you will be praising Montgomery County’s Register of Wills, Bruce Hanes, for his commitment to equality for same-sex couples.
Dear Register of Wills Bruce Hanes,
Upholding the standards set by a states’ constitution is an important part of any government official’s job. This sometimes means disregarding unconstitutional laws and provisions in order to provide for the equality and protection of civil rights of the citizens of a state.
I am writing you to commend you for your decision to begin allowing for same-sex couples to receive marriage licenses in Montgomery County. Your commitment to equality for same-sex couples is particularly meaningful within the context of a state that does not currently recognize same-sex marriage, and your work to allow same-sex marriages is an important and progressive step forward in creating a change to this policy in Pennsylvania. Thank you for what you have done so far, and please continue to take a stand for equality for all individuals in Pennsylvania.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Tatiana Sapateiro via Wikimedia Commons