Pennsylvania Attorney General Confirms She Won't Defend State's Ban on Gay Marriage
"I cannot ethically defend the constitutionality of Pennsylvania's (law banning same-sex marriage), where I believe it to be wholly unconstitutional," Kathleen Kane announced to reporters at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on Thursday.
Under Pennsylvania law, it is the attorney general's duty to defend the constitutionality of state laws. But the law also says the attorney general may allow lawyers for the governor's office or executive-branch agencies to defend a lawsuit if it is more efficient or in the state's best interests.
Kane, a Democrat who supports same-sex marriage, said she will leave the job to Corbett, a Republican who opposes same-sex marriage.
Corbett has thus far declined comment.
Pennsylvania's only openly gay Rep. Brian Sims had this to say about Kane's pledge:
“We are certainly living in historic times. Marriage equality will happen in Pennsylvania, the only question remaining is ‘when?’ When the U.S. Supreme Court declared the federal DOMA unconstitutional, the decisions thrust many states, Pennsylvania included, into the national spotlight. Attorney General Kane, Pennsylvania’s lead legal authority, has a keen legal mind and in her determination has decided that continuing to defend the Commonwealth’s DOMA has no legal merit. While this does not mean that marriage equality will become the law in Pennsylvania today, certainly AG Kane’s announcement is a step in the right direction to address the legal inequalities impacting LGBT Pennsylvanians. The truth of the matter is, our Commonwealth currently does not have a single LGBT civil right, and we remain the only state in the Northeast that does not recognize same-sex relationships. Non-discrimination, hate crimes, and anti-bullying laws all fall short in Pennsylvania in protecting LGBT Pennsylvanians. Right now, hundreds of thousands of LGBT Pennsylvanians can be fired from their jobs, denied housing and service at public establishments solely because of who they are.”
He also said this: