Update 1: After speaking to Bruce Hanes, the Raging Chicken Press has found out that the couple married today have been in a committed relationship for 17 years.
Call it a coup by local democratic officials in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania or call it a victory for progressives who wouldn’t be able to pass same sex marriage legislation in Pennsylvania’s House State Government Committee, but a county official in Pennsylvania has just issued the Commonwealth’s first same-sex marriage license in state history.
The story began to develop on July 23, when Montgomery County Registry of Wills Bruce Hanes issued a press release stating he would issue same-sex marriage licenses to anyone who walked into his office and requested one. In the Main Line News, Bruce Hanes explained his legal justification stating:
When I took the oath of office 19 months ago, I swore to uphold the U.S. and the Pennsylvania Constitutions. Article 1 Section 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, aptly entitled “Inherent rights of mankind,” says “all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent and indefeasible rights, among which is “pursuing their own happiness.”
Article 1, Section 26 of the Constitution says, “Neither the Commonwealth nor any political subdivision thereof shall deny to any person the enjoyment of any civil right, nor discriminate against any person in the exercise of any civil right.”
Then earlier this morning, Josh Shaprio, Montgomery County Commissioner, issued a tweet stating that the first gay marriage license in Pennsylvania’s history had been issued. The Commonwealth’s first same-sex marriage license went to a female couple, who were in a 17 year committed relationship, living in Limerick Pennsylvania.
— Josh Shapiro (@Josh_Shapiro) July 24, 2013
UPDATE: 7/25/2013 12:23 AM
Check out Rachel Maddow’s coverage of this issue, including an interview with Montgomery County Register of Wills, Bruce Hanes in the video below. Special thanks to Rachel Maddow Show producer, Laura Conaway, for posting the story on Maddow Blog and citing Raging Chicken Press!