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View Diary: Oral Argument in PA Same-Sex Marriage License Leaves Big Questions Unanswered (27 comments)

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  •  I'm confused by the intro (1+ / 0-)
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    The Commonwealth Court heard oral arguments in Commonwealth v. Hanes yesterday in Harrisburg, PA on a motion to intervene filed by same-sex couples who were issued marriage licenses by Montgomery County Recorder of Wills, D. Bruce Hanes.
    Seems to be saying that the motion to intervene was filed by same-sex couples who were issued licenses.  Were they trying to get the court to intervene to prevent Hanes being prevented from issuing licenses?  
    •  Yes. (2+ / 0-)
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      ColoTim, lostboyjim

      They want to make their own separate arguments as to the impact of the licenses on them.

      •  Like a "Friend of the Court" kind-of thing, only (0+ / 0-)

        a "Friend of the Defendant", right?

        Your and ccyd's explanations have been very helpful.  Thanks.

        •  no. (2+ / 0-)
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          ColoTim, lostboyjim

          As in "we have our own legitimate interests in this litigation and want to be parties to it."

          •  As, as in (0+ / 0-)

            "We are now married, and we don't want that stripped from us."  That's what happened in San Francisco in the Newsome Spring back 10 years ago, right?

            Is that San Francisco event applicable to what's going on in PA?

            Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

            by lostboyjim on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 09:48:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Same situation (1+ / 0-)
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              And in that case, the clerk lost. Lockyer (2004):

              As these various examples demonstrate, although the present proceeding may be viewed by some as presenting primarily a question of the substantive legal rights of same-sex couples, in actuality the legal issue before us implicates the interest of all individuals in ensuring that public officials execute their official duties in a manner that respects the limits of the authority granted to them as officeholders. In short, the legal question at issue — the scope of the authority entrusted to our public officials — involves the determination of a fundamental question that lies at the heart of our political system: the role of the rule of law in a society that justly prides itself on being "a government of laws, and not of men" (or women).

              As indicated above, that issue — phrased in the narrow terms presented by this case — is whether a local executive official, charged with the ministerial duty of enforcing a statute, has the authority to disregard the terms of the statute in the absence of a judicial determination that it is unconstitutional, based solely upon the official's opinion that the governing statute is unconstitutional. As we shall see, it is well established, both in California and elsewhere, that — subject to a few narrow exceptions that clearly are inapplicable here — a local executive official does not possess such authority....

              •  Thanks for the the detail (0+ / 0-)

                Is the fact that the Attorney General refusing to act make a difference here?  Or this is the exact same issue, but the state has been a bit reticent to act because there is no real anti-marriage political will.

                Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

                by lostboyjim on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 08:58:56 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Some legal jargon there (3+ / 0-)
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      ColoTim, sfbob, lostboyjim

      What a motion to intervene does is it allows a party who is not in the lawsuit to get in.  This happens when there is an outside party whose interests will be affected by the outcome of the case so significantly that the court says that the only way for it to protect those interests is to get involved in the lawsuit.  What has happened here is that the recorder of wills for Montgomery Co. has made what we call a "collateral attack" on the consitutionality of the statute.  In other words:

      Commwlth: "That thing you've been doing?  Stop."

      Hanes:  "Neyah  Neyah, make me."

      Interevenors:  "Hey there -- Hold the phone, we want him to keep doing it."

      Commwlth:  "Stay out of this, it's not your fight"

      Intervenors:  "Is too."

      Hanes:  "You can't make me stop because I think the law you want me to follow is unconstitutional."

      Commwlth:  "Is so."

      I do not feel obligated to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use -- Galileo Galilei

      by ccyd on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 12:38:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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