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Schuylkill clerk seeks same sex marriage appeal

Published June 07. 2014 09:00AM

Schuylkill County's clerk of the orphan court is challenging the state's new law permitting same sex marriages.

The clerk of courts, Theresa Santai Gaffney filed a motion to intervene in Whitewood v. Wolf, the case in which a federal district judge declared unconstitutional the Commonwealth's longstanding definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

Representing Gaffney are Jim Smith and David Crossett, attorneys with the Smith Law Group, LLC of Fleetwood, and Jeff Conrad, attorney with Clymer, Musser & Conrad, P.C., of Lancaster County.

Gaffney is seeking intervention in the case so that the ruling can be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Governor Corbett, who had been defending the law, declined to appeal the ruling.

"An appeal is necessary so that the judicial process is not abandoned," said Gaffney. "The people of Pennsylvania deserve to hear from the Court of Appeals on this important issue because a single judge should not be able to nullify the will of the majority without an appeal."

The motion says marriage between one man and one woman has always been the law in Pennsylvania.

"I respect the law of our Commonwealth and the will of the people reflected in the law," said Gaffney. "I believe that the voice of those who think that our law is constitutional and best serves all citizens of the Commonwealth should be heard."

"Due to the uncertainty of the state of the law, I will continue issuing marriage licenses to all couples," she added.

One of the reasons that she is seeking to intervene in this case is to obtain clarity about her official duties.

The Motion to Intervene asks the Court for the ability to join the lawsuit for purposes of appeal.

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