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21 couples aim to overturn same-sex marriage ban - abc27 WHTM

21 couples aim to overturn same-sex marriage ban

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Bolton Winpenny and James Booth have been married five times.

This past July, their sixth marriage became legal. The Dauphin County couple traveled east to have their license issued by Bruce Hanes, the register of wills for Montgomery County.

Earlier in September, a Commonwealth Court judge ordered Hanes to stop issuing marriage certificates because it was against state law to do so. However, the judge did not void licenses already issued by Hanes.

On Wednesday, 21 same-sex couples filed a lawsuit to protect those certificates and to have the state's law against gay marriage overturned.

Winpenny, who was one of 32 couples that stood up for Hanes, decided to opt out of the latest lawsuit.

"From my perspective, I have my marriage license so I have nothing to sue for," he said. "I'm going to assume my marriage license is valid."

The lawsuit will join a federal lawsuit filed in July by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania. The lawsuit filed in Commonwealth Court named Governor Tom Corbett, Attorney General Kathleen Kane, and Health Secretary Michael Wolf as defendants.

On Thursday, a spokesman for the governor's office told abc27 they had not yet received the lawsuit. The spokesman said once the lawsuit was reviewed, the governor would comment on what action would be taken.

The Pennsylvania Family Council believes Corbett should fight to keep the law against same-sex marriage standing firm and gave this statement to abc27:

"The problem that's being addressed in the lawsuit could have been avoided entirely if state officials had simply done their job and abided by the state's marriage law. As Judge Pellegrini pointed out in his opinion, it undermines democracy when state officials ignore the law."

"We are hopeful that in the same way that the court found it illegal to issue the licenses, the court will find the licenses so issued to be invalid."

"The state's position on marriage is consistent with what has been the norm for hundreds of years. The state has had an interest in marriage because the state has an interest in promoting an institution where children can benefit from both a mother and a father."

While Winpenny explained he is satisfied with his marriage license, it does not mean he believes the fight for equality is over.

"If I were smart, I would sit quiet with my marriage certificate, but I want people to talk about the issue," he said. "Even if you don't believe right away in gay marriage, the more you discuss the issue the more you turn."

 

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