Thirty-two same-sex couples who received marriage licenses in Montgomery County have filed a motion to join a lawsuit over Pennsylvania's marriage law.

 

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is is asking courts to force the county to stop issuing licenses to gay and lesbian couples in defiance of state law.

Since last month, Register of Wills and Orphan's Court, D. Bruce Hanes has issued more than 100 marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

He and the county are arguing a state ban against same-sex marriages is unconstitutional.

David Cohen, a professor at Drexel Law School, represents the couples, who he says want to come in from the sidelines.

"They can also add their personal stories about how this unconstitutional law affects their day to day lives," said Cohen. "And in Pennsylvania, there's hundreds of ways that married couples get rights and benefits and rights and responsibilities that unmarried couples do not."

A judge would have to grant the couples' motion to join the case.

The state argues allowing Montgomery County to keep issuing licenses could mean "legal chaos" and has asked Commonwealth Court to stop Hanes from handing out more.