Pennsylvania Attorney General Won’t Defend State’s Gay Marriage Ban in Court: Report

KanePennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane won't defend the state's ban on gay marriage in court, according to sources speaking with the Philadelphia Daily News:

Multiple sources confirmed that Kane, who is named along with Gov. Corbett as a defendant in the suit, plans to make the announcement at the National Constitution Center.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit, known as Whitewood v. Corbett, on Tuesday on behalf of 21 state residents. The plaintiffs are 10 couples and one widow who want to marry here, want the state to recognize their out-of-state marriages or want equal protections granted to straight married couples.


  1. Sporty says

    Who knew that elected Attorney General could decide which laws to defend or not. I guess we live in a world of man and not a world of law. As bad as the law is, it was voted on and approved by other elected officials.

  2. John says

    Unless I am mistaken, didn’t we just experience a situation where the US Department of Justice refused to defend section 3 of DOMA? So I guess it is not precedent setting!

  3. Brian1 says

    As I understand it, the basis for not defending a law varies state by state. Most attorneys general are obligated to defend their constitution, and many, if not most, legal scholars believe that obligation trumps the requirement to support statutes that they view to be in violation of the constitution. Also there is a practical issue of resources. Attorneys general have limited resources and need to determine where they are best spent. It is entirely in their remit to determine that defending a law that will ultimately be declared unconstitutional is a waste of taxpayer resources.

  4. Bob R says

    I hope this spreads across the nation. The laws against marriage equality are certainly unConstitutional. Time to renew my membership in ACLU.

  5. NotSafeForWork says

    This just happened with DOMA and Prop 8. Why is everyone so surprised that a state official isn’t going to defend this law? It’s quite clear what the final outcome will be.

  6. MKirby says

    Brian1 is right, the AG swears to uphold the Constitutions of the US and their state…that is the basis for refusing to defend an unconstitutional law. Some states still require the AG to defend every law, but that number is small.

  7. Kevin says

    here’s one snippet from the article that mentions this..

    It is the attorney general’s duty to defend the constitutionality of state laws, according to Pennsylvania law, but the AG has the option to allow lawyers for the governor’s office or executive-branch agencies to defend a lawsuit if it’s more efficient or in the state’s best interests.

    If the state wants the law defended,it would be in it’s best intrest to have someone defending it who believes in it.
    One more thing,Wisconsin’s domestic partnerships are facing a lawsuit and the AG there isn’t defending it either,goes both ways.

  8. Dave in PA says

    Also note that Kathleen Kane is a recently elected Democratic AG. Corbett is the sitting Republican governor who is an impediment to marriage equality in the state.

  9. Mike says

    Hope that this is a CLEAR SIGN TO ALL STATES to not defend this unjust and ridiculous ban on gay marriage! It is just a waste of time and taxpayers money.

  10. JONES says

    Huge thank you to AG Kane for taking this stand.

    Expect that Corbett will take up defense.

    Besides the right to marry for PA LGBT residents there’s another important aspect to this case. It also challenges Pa law that doesn’t recognize LGBT marriages performed in states where they are legal.

  11. Rick says

    This is what happens when liberals hold office – they don’t defend the laws they are legally bound to uphold. I’m sorry if that offends you, but opposite-sex marriage is the law in PA and it’s the duty of the AG to uphold the law. And let’s not kid ourselves: this is a PR move. Women are vastly more homophobic. Ms. Kane has not come out in favor of SSM or gay rights, further emphasizing this. Maybe if you liberal effeminates stopped worshiping female figures for two seconds you would see that.

  12. Dego says

    As usual, Rick, you’re misinformed and wrong.

    The A.G. of Pennsylvania is legally required to defend the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, NOT any laws that violate it.

    Given that Marriage has been determined to be a fundamental Civil Right by precedent, The existing Law can be seen to violate sections 1, 26 & 28 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

    So by not defending a Law that violates the Constitution she is obligated to defend, she is doing EXACTLY what she should be doing.

    Your thinking is classical Conservative confusion, where you feel the Government has the right to enforce the prejudices of whichever bully is in power (by popular vote or financial funding is irrelevant). I think if you look it up, that is closer to Fascism than Democracy, even a Democratic Republic.

  13. Brian1 says


    This comment stands out as unusually stupid, even more than your usual idiotic output. As I and several others have pointed out, you’ve misunderstood the law. But more importantly, your hatred of women has really reduced your brain to mush. Clearly she supports gay marriage and thinks the ban is unconstitutional. That’s the whole point of this article. But you decide that because she’s a woman she must hate gay marriage and gays, despite the obvious evidence that this is not true.

    Your continual repeating that women are more homophobic than men is tiresome and plainly wrong, since poll after poll shows much higher support for gay rights among women than men. But here we have a woman clearly supporting gay rights and you say she doesn’t only because she’s a woman. That’s the definition of being blinded by hate.

  14. JONES says

    Constitution of PA Article I, Section 26 Neither the Commonwealth nor any political subdivision thereof shall deny to any person the enjoyment of any civil right, nor discriminate against any person in the exercise of any civil right.

    Ms Kane has been an advocate for LGBT civil rights for a long time. She openly ran for AG on a platform of LGBT equality.

  15. says

    She is obviously on our side (as a majority of women are), not homophobic, and within her rights to leave the defending of an unconstitutional law to someone else–defending being different than upholding a law. And none of it has any bearing on opposite-sex marriage. @Rick’s moronic post reads like someone impersonating Jason impersonating Rick–crazy times in the TR comment section!!

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