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Matt Baume

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Surprise Marriages in Pennsylvania and Ohio (VIDEO)

Posted: 07/29/2013 7:19 pm

It's a victory that nobody was expecting or fully understands yet: A small county in Pennsylvania, Montgomery County, has decided to overlook the state's ban on marriage equality and start issuing licenses. Their justification? Preventing LGBT couples from marrying is a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

The move has thrown everyone -- activists, opponents, elected officials and jurists -- into a state of consternation. Will the state actually recognize the licenses? It's unclear.

The last time anything like this happened was in 2004, when San Francisco Mayor (now California Lt. Gov.) Gavin Newsom started issuing licenses on Valentine's Day. Those marriages were eventually invalidated, but that was before we had a Supreme Court ruling that a federal ban on marriage equality is unconstitutional. It's a very different legal landscape than it was a decade ago.

And there was another marriage surprise last week: Next door in Ohio, a judge ruled that the state must recognize a couple's out-of-state marriage. But there's a ticking clock on the ruling: It expires on Aug. 5, unless it's extended before then.

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