I Now [Cannot] Pronounce You Man and Wife
James W. Cushing, Esq. on 06/05/2009
About The Author
Law Office of Faye Riva Cohen, P.C.
We have all seen the occasion, either in person or on television or the movies: the beautiful wedding with all the accoutrements. The beautiful blushing bride standing next to her nervous, but happy, groom in the flower-adorned religious facility, flanked by the wedding party in traditional gowns and tuxedos, being lovingly viewed by the congregation gathered. At the apex of the scene, between the bridge and groom, stands the clergyperson delivering customary and appropriate words of inspiration. The entire process leads to the climactic moment when the bride and groom gaze into one another’s eyes and the clergyperson says those very familiar words: “by the power vested in me by the
Amidst the joy and happiness, no one stops to wonder at what seems to be a very obvious question: what if the “power” was not “vested” in the clergyperson to marry the engaged couple? One York County couple, however, did think to ask the question in the case of Heyer v. Hollerbush, Court of Common Pleas of York County, Pennsylvania No. 2007-SU-2132-Y08 (September 7, 2007). In Heyer, the couple was married by a
Following the Heyer decision, the American Civil Liberties Union took on this issue by filing similar cases in the counties of Philadelphia (In Re: Ryan Allen Hancock and Melanie Bilenker Han, No. 080201774), Montgomery (In Re: Marriage of Peter Goldberger and Anna M. Durbin, No, 2008-21497), and Bucks (In Re: Marriage of Jason O’Neill and Jennifer R. O’Neill, No.: 2008-01620), requesting the Court to declare the validity of those marriages. Similar to the Heyer matter, the cases in
The marriage at issue in the case in
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