Target: Pennsylvania Judge Dan Pellegrini
Goal: Condemn judge for stopping the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples
Pennsylvania Judge Dan Pellegrini recently ordered the Montgomery County Register of Wills Bruce Hanes to stop granting marriage licenses to gay couples because it violates Pennsylvania state law that bans same-sex marriage. Hanes argues that the ban on same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania violates the U.S. Constitution and thus began issuing marriage licenses in July 2013. Since he began doing so, 174 couples have obtained licenses. Judge Pellegrini’s decision did not address the question over whether Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage was constitutional but rather asserts that Hanes does not have the power or jurisdiction to challenge it.
Judge Pellegrini stated in his decision that governmental officials can only carry out the functions assigned to the office, and thus Hanes was in dereliction of their duties. Only a state or federal court or state legislature possessed the legal clout to overturn Pennsylvania’s state ban on same-sex marriage. Although disappointed by Judge Pellegrini’s decision, Hanes announced that he would cooperate with his decision.
It is unclear whether the 174 same-sex couples who have received marriage licenses will still be considered married. If stripped of their licenses, they would most likely file their own lawsuits to ensure that their marriage licenses are valid under the law. However, it is most likely that those licenses will be voided since Pellegrini decided that Hanes transgressed the functions of his office when he issued them. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has filed a separate federal case regarding the Pennsylvania marriage law and has hired attorneys that cost $400 an hour at the expense of the taxpayers in order to defend it.
Please sign this petition to condemn Judge Pellegrini’s decision to halt the granting of marriage licenses to gay couples. The state’s continued and heinous attack on equal rights for members of the gay community must be stopped. Gay couples should not be treated as second-class citizens in a country that touts freedom and equality.
Dear Judge Dan Pellegrini,
We condemn you for your recent decision to halt the granting of marriage licenses to same-sex couples by Register of Wills Bruce Hanes. Hanes rightfully believes that Pennsylvania’s state ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional in light of the recent decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as solely between a man and a woman. However, you have decided that Hanes was in dereliction when he granted the 174 marriage licenses to gay couples because only state legislatures and state or federal courts could challenge the state ban on gay marriage.
Governor Tom Corbett has filed a separate federal lawsuit regarding the Pennsylvania state ban and has hired lawyers that cost $400 an hour at the expense of taxpayers in order to defend the law. The continued attack on gay rights not only in Pennsylvania but throughout the United States must be stopped. Please reconsider your decision and stand up for equal rights in the United States today.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: davidzentz via Flickr