"It doesn't matter what the county says. It doesn't matter what the state says," Maus said. "Without a court's intervention, are these people validly married?"
Five or 10 years from now, for example, attorneys may challenge those licenses to get out of alimony, death benefits, custody, or other benefits afforded to married couples.
"The only way to protect those couples is for Montgomery County to issue new licenses," he said.
Montgomery County has been telling couples that isn't necessary.
"The marriages were recorded," said Montgomery County First Deputy Solicitor Joshua Stein. "We have no intention of changing the dates, or doing anything different with those licenses than we would for the heterosexual couples that got married in that period."
Widener Law professor John G. Culhane said the situation for these couples is so complicated and unusual that it was inevitable that a judge would give the final word. "It's a mess. That's my legal summary. It's a mess," Culhane said.
"If I were the [state] Supreme Court, I would resolve this very quickly," he said. "It really is the humane thing to do for the court to let these couples know where they stand so they can move on with their lives, and do what they need to do."
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