Time Magazine reports:
Wednesday’s hearing in Harrisburg pits Gov. Tom Corbett’s Health Department against D. Bruce Hanes, Montgomery County’s register of wills, who issues marriage licenses as part of his duties as clerk of the county orphan’s court. Hanes began giving marriage licenses to gay couples in late July, shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court threw out portions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Pennsylvania is the only Northeastern state that has neither gay marriage nor civil unions, but the legality of the more than 150 such licenses Hanes has handed out remains an open question. David Cohen, an attorney representing 32 couples who received licenses from Hanes, says it’s too early to speculate on the legal status of those marriages. “That’s certainly unknown because it would depend on the scope of the decision,” Cohen said. But he added that there’s plenty of legal precedent for courts to look at the core issue of how a local official decides whether an action is constitutional.
Even if the court were to declare Pennsylvania open for marriage equality, I’m sure the Republican State leadership would appeal. Still, it would be a huge step in the right direction.