Gay marriage advocates denied licenses in Philadelphia

Bob, left, and Bill Sullivan look at each other outside the marriage license bureau at City Hall Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

February 18, 2014 9:58:39 AM PST
Marriage bureau officials in Philadelphia say they are sympathetic to same-sex couples, but can't grant them marriage licenses until the law changes in Pennsylvania.

The comments Tuesday come as advocates pursue competing legal strategies to bring gay marriage to Pennsylvania.

Separate lawsuits are pending in state and federal court, one filed by same-sex couples and the other by a county official who briefly granted same-sex licenses.

Bob and Bill Sullivan are trying another tack. They married in Vermont in 2009, then moved back to Philadelphia.

They asked City Hall officials Tuesday to recognize their marriage, so they can enjoy spousal benefits such as health insurance and medical decision-making.

Register of Wills Ronald Donatucci says he is sympathetic, but must follow the law and await the court rulings.