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Montco Same-Sex Marriage Cases To Be Argued Before Judge

(Credit: Gabriel Bouys/ AFP/ Getty Images)

(Credit: Gabriel Bouys/ AFP/ Getty Images)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG (CBS) – Lawyers for Montgomery County and the Corbett administration will be in court Wednesday arguing over the Commonwealth’s lawsuit that aims to stop the county’s register of wills from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of state law.

One of the issues to be argued before a Commonwealth Court judge in Harrisburg is whether the constitutionality of the state’s marriage law can be raised.

Montgomery County Solicitor Ray McGarry believes it should be. Otherwise, “you set up, essentially, two separate litigation’s when we believe that it can all be and should be handled in one litigation,” he said.

But the Corbett administration spokesman Nils Frederiksen insists this case is strictly about whether a local official has the ability to disregard state law based on his or her own personal opinion.

“The constitutionality issue is really a smokescreen. It’s an effort to confuse the issue,” Frederiksen said.

Other issues to be argued include whether the register of wills is a judicial officer and, if so, whether Commonwealth Court has jurisdiction to hear this case and whether the state Department of Health, which filed the suit, has legal standing.