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Pennsylvania county clerk goes rogue for marriage equality

Bruce Hanes, Register of Wills in Pennsylvania's Montgomery County, announced this week that, despite a state law banning same-sex marriage, he would issue marriage licenses to any gay couples requesting them.

Why? Because he wants to stay "on the right side of history and the law," as he explained in a statement announcing his decision:

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.”

Furthermore, Article 1 Section 28 says, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania because of the sex of the individual.”

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