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2013 News

STATEMENT OF BUCKS COUNTY COMMISSIONERS Re: Pending American Civil Liberties Union Lawsuit

November 12, 2013

A Statement from the Commissioners: Chairman Robert G. Loughery, Charles H. Martin and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia

As the Board of Bucks County Commissioners, we strongly believe that county government should not be spending taxpayer dollars to argue either for or against the issue of same sex marriage.  It is our belief that the purpose of the legal briefs submitted should be limited to having the Register of Wills dismissed from the pending lawsuit. It is significant to note that the Register of Wills, not the Bucks County Commissioners, is the named defendant in the lawsuit, which involves state law. The brief submitted was prepared by counsel of an independently elected row officer, the Bucks County Register of Wills, with no input whatsoever from the Commissioners.

As a named defendant, the Register of Wills is required to defend its position in order to protect its interests. Certainly, an attempt to have the case dismissed is an appropriate and legitimate use of taxpayers’ dollars. 

The Board of Commissioners wishes to emphasize that we have taken no position with regard to the arguments offered by attorney Nate Fox of Begley, Carlin & Mandio.  We stress that there has been no input from the County Commissioners with regard to these  arguments.

Ultimately, it is unfortunate that the defense of the lawsuit requires expenditure of taxpayers’ dollars. It is our hope that the Court will dismiss the plaintiffs’ complaint against the Register of Wills without delay. The Commissioners will carefully scrutinize the payment of all attorneys fees associated with the lawsuit in order to protect the residents of Bucks County.