Local Mayor Says He Will Marry Gay Couples Despite State Ban
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — First, a register of wills in suburban Philadelphia started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Now, the mayor of State College says she’ll recognize that license and marry gay couples.
Turns out she’s not alone.
State law is clear.
Marriage in Pennsylvania is only for one man and one woman, but that hasn’t stopped Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Haines from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, saying the state law is unconstitutional.
That’s also the opinion of state Attorney General Kathleen Kane.
“It was my legal opinion that a ban on marriage or discriminating against any person is not allowed by any state or any political subdivision,” says Kane.
The state Register of Wills Association — as a group — has said county officials should not issue marriage licenses until the General Assembly changes the laws or the state courts rule the gay marriage ban unconstitutional, but that hasn’t stopped Montgomery County.
Now that one county in Pennsylvania will issue marriage licenses to same sex couples, the question is who will marry those folks?
It turns out that there’s one mayor right here in this region who would be happy to do the honors.
“The government has no place in deciding who you can love as a person, and I would just welcome the chance of performing a same-sex ceremony,” Braddock Mayor John Fetterman told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Friday.
Fetterman says some rights trump the law.
“Whether that’s civil disobedience, or breaking the law, it’s doing the right thing,” adds Fetterman.
A member of FreedomToMarry.Org, Mayor Adam Forgie of Turtle Creek supports same-sex marriage, but he won’t marry gay couples yet.
“I believe a state mandate needs to be made in Harrisburg, and then if that happened I would gladly and be proud to marry a same sex couple,” says Forgie.
Until state law changes, Forgie says he will follow the law — a decision other mayors may have to make, too.