Pennsylvania

Deal proposed to recognize gay marriages performed before Pa. ban was struck down

Matt Rourke, AP
Ellen Toplin, right, and Charlene Kurland pose for photographs with their marriage license at a Montgomery County office on Wednesday, despite a state law banning such unions. Staff Reports

PHILADELPHIA — The fate of 27 same-sex couples who married in Pennsylvania before a federal judge struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban could be resolved through a legal settlement.

Matt Rourke, APEllen Toplin, right, and Charlene Kurland pose for photographs with their marriage license at a Montgomery County office on Wednesday, despite a state law banning such unions.

Matt Rourke, AP
Ellen Toplin, right, and Charlene Kurland pose for photographs with their marriage license issued in Montgomery County, Pa., on July 24, 2013, despite a state law banning such unions.

Their marriages would be recognized under the proposed deal, but their legal anniversary would move to May 20, 2014, the day Pennsylvania’s same-sex marriage ban was overturned.

The 27 couples were among nearly 200 same-sex couples married with licenses issued by rogue Montgomery County official D. Bruce Hanes in July and August 2013.

Hanes began granting the licenses not long after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act.

At the time, Hanes said he had a sworn duty to uphold the Pennsylvania and U.S. constitutions, and that the state law banning same-sex marriage violated. He wanted to “come down on the right side of history and the law.”

The proposed settlement, which must still be approved by a judge, only involves the 27 couples who filed suit to have their marriages recognized, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Dozens of other marriages performed before the state law changed may still be in dispute, but many of those couples obtained new marriage licenses after the federal ruling this spring.

Couples who didn’t, according to the state, are still not married.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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