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Gay couple marries in Philadelphia, officials defy state ban

Gay couple marries in Philadelphia, officials defy state ban

Two female couples have been married near Philadelphia after county officials defied the state ban.

Alicia Terrizzi, 45 and Loreen Bloodgood, 40, say they did not set out to be pioneers but wanted to take advantage of the opportunity offered by Montgomery County officials. 

‘We weren’t really planning on being like the first people,’ Terrizzi said.

‘I thought there was gonna be a giant line here. We weren’t planning on doing this yesterday, we had no idea we were even going to be able to, but we’re obviously gonna take advantage of the opportunity we’ve been given.’

Yesterday (23 July), Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes said he would grant licenses to gay couples because he wants to be ‘on the right side of history and the law’.

‘Right now I have no knowledge of anything prohibiting me from doing it. If another couple came to me I would treat them exactly the same. I would approve it,’ he said, according to a local NBC news outlet.

Americans Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania lawyers said courts will likely invalidate the marriages. The group has a separate lawsuit pending to challenge the state law.

‘We know how it has played out in a few other states; we don’t know how it might turn out in Pennsylvania,’ they said.

‘Gay and lesbian couples seeking marriage licenses in Montgomery County should be aware that there might be uncertainty about the legal statuses of those marriages for a while because unfortunately in other states, governments have later invalidated the marriages.’

After the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay rights, finding the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional, the finding sparked challenges to state laws banning same-sex marriage around the country.

Pennsylvania has had a statute banning same-sex marriage since 1996, making it the only northeastern US state without marriage equality.