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Pennsylvania county appeals ruling in marriage case

PHILADELPHIA -- The Pennsylvania county that issued marriage licenses to same-gender couples on Tuesday appealed a lower court ruling that halted marriage equality in the Keystone State.

Montgomery County, part of the Philadelphia region, appealed the Commonwealth Court ruling to the state's Supreme Court. Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pellegrini last month ordered Montgomery County Register of Wills Bruce Hanes to stop issuing marriage licenses, saying Hanes did not have the authority to decide the legality of the state ban on same-gender marriage.

Hanes and other Montgomery County officials issued 174 marriage licenses from July 24 through mid-September's ruling. A lesbian couple, Alicia Terrizzi and Loreen Bloodgood, were the first to marry.

Meanwhile, a second major lawsuit involves 21 same-gender couples suing the state in Commonwealth Court, contending that the ban is unconstitutional according to the state constitution.

A third major lawsuit filed in federal court in Philadelphia is breaking new legal grounds by raising important constitutional questions that the courts have not addressed, including the impact of the full faith and credit clause, which requires states to respect judgment, decrees and orders of other states, and the constitutional right to travel between states without penalty or deprivation of legal rights.