Pa. officials won't approve same-sex marriages
Nearly four dozen elected officials who oversee marriage licenses in Pennsylvania have pledged not to approve unions for same-sex couples.
In a resolution that was unanimously approved this week during a registers convention in Washington County, the officials said state law clearly prevents them from following the lead of a Montgomery County colleague who has issued a handful of marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Marriage licenses in Pennsylvania are issued by the Register of Wills in most counties.
“Should the Pa. Legislature or a court of jurisdiction mandate a change to the marriage license law, we shall faithfully and dutifully follow that law,” the resolution states.
Westmoreland County Register of Wills Michael Ginsburg voted in favor of the mission statement.
Ginsburg said state law, which specifically says legal marriage is between a man and a woman, prevents him from issuing licenses to same-sex couples.
“My decision offers no position on the underlying subject matter of this very sensitive issue; rather, it is intended only to clarify my intent to follow the current law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” Ginsburg said in a prepared statement.
During an interview, Ginsburg said he supports the existing law.
“I'm a Republican, a right-wing Christian. I'm totally comfortable with what the law is. A marriage is between a man and a woman,” he said.
Officials from two counties, Washington and Bucks, abstained from the vote, said Kirk Sohanage, solicitor for Cumberland County Register of Wills Glenda Farner Strasbaugh, who serves as secretary for the statewide organization.
“They did so because of the pending litigation. Both were named in the lawsuit (over Pennsylvania's marriage law) filed two weeks ago by the ACLU,” Sohanage said.
Washington County Register of Wills Mary Jo Poknis could not be reached for comment Friday. Poknis refused to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple earlier this year, according to the lawsuit that also named Gov. Tom Corbett as a defendant.
Attorney General Kathleen Kane made news earlier this month when she said she would not defend the state against the lawsuit.
Earlier this week, Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes issued five marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The statewide register's organization approved its resolution the same day those marriage licenses were issued in Montgomery County.
Fayette County Register of Wills Donald Redman did not attend the convention and was unavailable for comment Friday.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Donegal Township families fight driller to get clean water
- Latrobe school directors won’t forgive bill for WCCC land
- Police: Penn Township man was ‘lonely,’ so he called 911
- Ex-assistant at Penn-Trafford pleads guilty to sending inappropriate texts
- Bicyclist injured in collision with construction vehicle
- Greensburg will provide interpreter for soccer program
- Land bank will handle Monsour deal
- Walker: Scottdale Fall Festival kicks off this weekend
- Mt. Pleasant hospital sets ‘exceptional’ example
- Derry planning commission member joins council
- Ligonier Township man jailed in alleged assault of police chief