Lawyer Claims PA Governor Tom Corbett Cannot Be Sued In Federal Court Over Gay Marriage Ban

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, who recently compared gay marriage to incest on a radio show, may find himself rescued from a lawsuit filed against him and the state's health secretary. A lawyer representing Corbett has claimed that a suit against the governor in federal court will not hold up against constitutional law. 

Corbett_official_155x217The Huffington Post reports:

In a brief filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg, William Lamb urged that the claims against Corbett in a pending lawsuit be dismissed. He says the U.S. Constitution prohibits lawsuits against state officials from being filed in federal court without their consent.

Lamb also says claims against Corbett and Health Secretary Michael Wolf should be dismissed because case law holds that federal courts have no jurisdiction over cases like this.

The lawsuit, which was filed this summer by 23 individual women, men, and children, is one more case in the increasingly vocal denouncement of PA's same-sex marriage ban. With a recently announced house marriage equality bill in the state, and the on-going scuffle surrounding Montgomery County's granting of marriage licenses, it seems like only a matter of time until we see some major shifts in policy.  



  1. NotSafeForWork says

    ^^The rationale comes from not just the language of the amendment, but the case law that stems from it wherein the amendment was interpreted by the Court.

  2. NotSafeForWork says

    ^^Just as the 14th amendment doesn’t specifically say that gay people have the unique right to be married under equal protection. We want the court to say that, to interpret the amendment to mean that. Then, that interpretation becomes part of the rule of the law. However, these interpretations can always be reversed, since they are just that- an interpretation.

  3. Bill says

    Even if the lawsuit is dismissed as to the governor as a defendant, that is not to say that the lawsuit cannot continue. I would imagine that the governor is only one of several defendants, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, no doubt, being one. The lawsuit would continue as to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania being a defendant.

  4. anon says

    Sued for what, exactly? You can’t file claims made under state law in federal court. You can sue a state in federal court under federal law, but not public officials for official acts.

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