Yesterday lawyers for Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett filed a brief calling the marriage licenses issued by Montgomery County “meaningless” and compared them to allowing 12 year-old children to marry.
Thirty-two of the couples have petitioned to intervene in the case, arguing that a ruling against Hanes could also invalidate their marriages. The state filed a brief Wednesday opposing the couples’ participation, arguing that their marriage licenses hold no “actual value or legitimacy” and thus have no right to be defended in court. “Had the clerk issued marriage licenses to 12-year-olds in violation of state law, would anyone seriously contend that each 12-year-old is entitled to a hearing on the validity of his ‘license’?” the state wrote. If the couples wish to defend their “purported marriage licenses,” the state wrote, they should file their own lawsuit or wait for the outcome of a federal challenge to Pennsylvania’s marriage law. “This case is about one thing: whether a local official may willfully disregard a statute based on his personal legal opinion that the statute is unconstitutional,” they wrote.
Several of those 32 couples are longtime JMG readers and commenters.