One Pennsylvania county clerk is not pleased with the fact that same-sex couples are getting married in that state. She has requested to intervene in the marriage equality case out of that state, and she has also asked for a stay of the ruling (from Judge Jones) which allowed same-sex couples to marry and to halt them. The county clerk is Schuylkill County’s Clerk of the Orphan’s Court, Theresa Santai-Gaffney.
From Equality On Trial:
Santai-Gaffney, whose office issues marriage licenses in the county, asked U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III on Friday to allow her to intervene in the case, with a view toward appealing his May 20 order declaring Pennsylvania’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.
Jones, whose chambers are in Harrisburg but who lives in Pottsville, is one of several federal judges who have declared state laws banning gay marriage unconstitutional.
Any appeal of Jones’ decision would be heard by the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Santai-Gaffney said the issue should not stop with Jones’ ruling, although Gov. Tom Corbett, who had defended the law in court, has said he will not appeal that decision.
“An appeal is necessary so that the judicial process is not abandoned,” she said. “The people of Pennsylvania deserve to hear from the court of appeals on this important issue because a single judge should not be able to nullify the will of the majority without an appeal.”
Equality Pennsylvania has also issued a statement:
“It saddens me, as I am sure it saddens many Pennsylvanians, that some individuals are having such a hard time accepting that all people deserve to be treated equally regardless of our differences. We have branches of government for a reason, and the judicial branch has a legitimate right to interpret whether laws meet the constitutional standards that our nation’s founders created.
We are glad that Judge Jones examined the case and came to a reasonable conclusion.
We also thank Gov. Corbett for recognizing that the majority of Pennsylvanian’s understand that love is love.
The fact is that marriage matters to all families, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families in Pennsylvania deserve the same dignity and protection as anyone else.”
I think that gay couples are going to have to be prepared for some ups and downs (and, some confusion) with regard to these marriage equality rulings at the district court level. That is because anti-gay organizations such as NOM, AFA, FRC, and other related state organizations are going to do everything in their power to stop and/or delay these decision from going into effect. Having said that, I don't think this effort to stop marriage equality in Pennsylvania will be successful, because this motion to intervene is not timely, and because I don't believe county clerks in Pennsylvania have any authority with regard to marriage laws outside of issuing the licenses.
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