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Equality PA: Government services should be equal for all people

Equality PA Responds to Montgomery County Register of Wills Candidate Claims to Refuse Marriage Licenses to Same Sex Couples

Philadelphia – Ted Martin, Executive Director of Equality PA responded today to Sharon Valentine-Thomas, candidate for Register of Wills in Montgomery County, after her public statement that she would not issue marriage licenses to same sex couples:

“What Sharon Valentine-Thomas does not seem to understand is that government services should be equally available to all people. The US Supreme Court was clear on this when it made the decision that barring same-sex couples from the freedom to marry is unconstitutional.

Not only is it deeply unfair to use discriminatory practices in providing government services, creating specific accommodation for which laws government officials should follow and which they can disobey will open a can of worms that could result in legal chaos. Any government official could potentially become a law unto themselves, deciding which laws they will and won’t obey. For example, a public health official might decide not to distribute information about important vaccinations based on their religious beliefs.

No one should be discriminated against when it comes to accessing basic government services. If Sharon Valentine-Thomas does not want to do what her job would require under the law, she should consider doing something else.

Equality PA extends our support to Bruce Hanes, who has been a champion for the community. He has stood up for LGBT couples when he was the first to challenge Pennsylvania’s unconstitutional ban on same sex marriages, and he will provide equal treatment to all people under the law now that he has been proven right by the Supreme Court.”


With 60,000 members across the commonwealth, Equality Pennsylvania is the leading organization advancing equality and opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Pennsylvanians.

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