Petrille's role reduced in same-sex lawsuit

Posted: February 27, 2014

Bucks County Register of Wills Donald Petrille, named in a lawsuit seeking to recognize same-sex marriages in Pennsylvania, has had his role in the suit reduced, according to a recent court filing.

Petrille, who was included after declining to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple, is also backing away from a spirited and controversial defense of traditional marriage offered in an earlier brief in the case, the filing says.

In a statement issued Tuesday afternoon, Petrille declined to address those past statements, in which he argued that marriage is rooted in the "biological fact that opposite-sex couples reproduce."

But he did say he was pleased that his opponents in the suit, chief among them the American Civil Liberties Union, agreed that his future participation in the suit can be limited. He will not have to appear at the trial, for example.

The agreement "accomplishes much of what we set out to do when we were dragged into this matter," he said, including reducing the legal bills for Bucks County taxpayers.

Petrille was not dismissed from the suit, as were Gov. Corbett and Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

John S. Stapleton, an attorney for the couples who have filed the lawsuit, said they wanted to include a county official among the defendants, since county officials statewide enforce a law that the couples say is unjust.



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