Why did Montco decide to take on the state in terms of same-sex marriage?

This isn’t a rant about the merits, rights or wrongs of same-sex marriage. The whole issue of same-sex marriage I believe is a personal one that shouldn’t be anyone else’s business.

This is a rant about a governmental body taking on the state of Pennsylvania where the law says it’s not legal to issue marriage licenses to those of the same sex.

But according to a story from our sister paper The Times-Herald, Montgomery County made history today by issuing the first two same-sex marriage licenses in Pennsylvania.

According to the Times-Herald, Loreen M. Bloodgood, 40, and Alicia A. Terrizzi, 45, both of Pottstown, were married hours after Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans Court D. Bruce Hanes, granted a marriage license, just after 8 a.m. They have been in a relationship for 18 years and came in with two school-age boys, said Hanes.

Hanes said he waived the three-day waiting period — typical of all marriage licenses — for the Pottstown couple because they were leaving the area soon and wanted to expedite their wedding. Waivers of the sort are at the discretion of the Clerk of the Orphan’s Court.

Sasha Esther Ballen, 38, and Diana Lynn Spagnuolo, 39, both of Wynnewood, came in not long after and were granted a marriage license.

“I think we feel equal, for once. I think we feel the same as everybody else and it’s a great feeling. It’s almost indescribable,” said Bloodgood.

“We think it’s really important to show our children that we are a family and we just like their friends who have moms and dads. It’s important for us to stand up for what we believe in.”

“We weren’t really planning on being the first people. I thought there was going to be a giant line here. I guess we are kind of trendsetters.”

“We’ve been a family for 18 years and we’re no different from anybody else and finally it’s recognized,” said Terrizzi.

“It doesn’t make any difference to us. Nothing is going to change, but now we’re going to have a piece of paper so everyone else recognizes. It means a lot.”

“I knew, driving in, that we could have a line around the block,” said Hanes.

“When I was sworn in in January 2008, I was sworn to uphold the constitution of this commonwealth, and my understanding of that requires me to do just that. There are three sections of the commonwealth’s constitution that jump out at you … they talk about equality, regardless of gender. They talk about essential civil rights. Nobody should be denied a civil right, especially based on sex.”

So I suppose the question is who gave Hanes the authority to issue these licenses? Was this a decision he made on his own? Who in the county government made the call? This is important because surely this whole matter will end up in the courts somewhere, sometime and the taxpayers will be on the hook for legal costs. I am one of those taxpayers and while my personal belief is one thing my standing as a citizen is another. I don’t believe this was a wise decision on the part of the county.

The Times-Herald story states that County Board of Commissioners’ Chairman Josh Shapiro and Vice Chairwoman Leslie Richards — both Democrats — support Hanes’ decision and called it a historic day for Montgomery County. Republican Commissioner Bruce L. Castor, Jr. has said it is not appropriate for the board to weigh in on such matters, as the commissioners’ office is a separate entity from county row offices.

So while Shapiro and Richards support Hanes’ decision, who in Norristown gave the go-ahead? That is a question that needs an answer.

I believe if the county wished to buck the system it needed to do it the right way – through legislation, lobbying, etc., and not some arbitrary decision by someone sitting in the courthouse or One Montgomery Plaza.

Answers please. Answers.

— Andy Hachadorian

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About fromtheeditorchair

I am the editor of the Daily Local News.
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4 Responses to Why did Montco decide to take on the state in terms of same-sex marriage?

  1. A Stranger in a Strange Land says:

    I think if the New Left wanted to start the civil war they worked so hard to foment in 1969 … they could not do a better job than they are doing now.

    it is clear to me as a Patriot with 400 years’ family standing in America that as of now, we are in a land WITHOUT RULE OF LAW. Our state so-called attorney general, the president of the federal government, and elected and appointed officials in-between have made it perfectly clear they will rule by personal diktat, the law be damned.

    Okay. I’m telling you right now, this illegal and abominable behavior is approaching the point of no return as lawful citizens are faced with a dilemma: Accede to the “soft” coup d’etat against the Constitution and our republican forms of government, which includes subjugation and surveillance at all levels … or Enforce the laws of the Republic no matter the cost in blood and treasure.

    Don’t you bastards dare force that decision on us. Stand down. NOW.

    • Steve says:

      Woah, crazy. Yes, it is illegal. The courts will overturn what he did. Always good to talk about impending civil war. It adds to your credibility with your “400 years’ family standing” which I’m sure makes you more American than me.

  2. skeptic 192 says:

    There are those in the political areana that believe they are a “little more equal” and that being blessed with the ability to discern the intent of the writers of the Constitution without having to deal with the mundane drudgery of complying with the laws of the land, they along with the many other illuminati confer upon us their glorious judgements. There are those of us who believe in the process of law in this country and then apparently there are those who have been elected and have drunk from that lofty perch of power from which all knowledge flows.

  3. jdf1980 says:

    It seems that you answered the question yourself Andy, as to the why. There is a belief by some in the County Government that denying same sex marriage is unconstitutional in the state of PA. If they believe that is the case than they cannot enforce an unconstitutional law. Also, as you said, this will eventually wind up in court; that is where constitutional issues are decided. However, it to wind up in court their has to be legal standing and the issuing of these marriage licences sets up that legal showdown (which was probably the goal.)

    @Stranger: what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul. (Than you, Billy Madison)

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