Pennsylvania Governor Says He Will Not Appeal Ruling Striking Down State’s Gay Marriage Ban


Pennsylvania Governor Corbett says he will NOT appeal yesterday's ruling by a federal judge striking down the state's ban on gay marriage, the ACLU reports.

UPDATE: The ACLU has deleted the above tweet – stay tuned. Perhaps they jumped the gun.

UPDATE: The Washington Blade's Michael Lavers tweets that Corbett's press office told him the governor is "still reviewing" the decision.

UPDATE: The AP is now reporting that Corbett WON'T appeal the ruling.

And here is Corbett's statement:

May 21, 2014

Statement Regarding the Opinion of Judge Jones in the Whitewood Case

“I have thoroughly reviewed Judge Jones’ opinion in the Whitewood case.  Given the high legal threshold set forth by Judge Jones in this case, the case is extremely unlikely to succeed on appeal.  Therefore, after review of the opinion and on the advice of my Commonwealth legal team, I have decided not to appeal Judge Jones’ decision.

“As a Roman Catholic, the traditional teaching of my faith has not w​​avered. I continue to maintain the belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.  My duties as Governor require that I follow the laws as interpreted by the Courts and make a judgment as to the likelihood of a successful appeal.

"Throughout the debate on this important and meaningful issue, I have maintained that Commonwealth officials and agencies would follow the provisions of Pennsylvania’s marriage law unless or until a court says otherwise.  The court has spoken, and I will ensure that my administration follows the provisions of Judge Jones’ order with respect for all parties.

“It is my hope that as the important issue of same-sex relationships continues to be addressed in our society, that all involved be treated with respect.”



  1. Jack M says

    Corbett is no hero. He was responsible for helping to block the attempt to bring Jerry Sandusky to trial for abusing boys at Penn State, for political reasons, of course. His “position” on gay marriage is self-serving.

  2. Jeffg166 says

    He’s up for reelection which is highly doubtful. To push back against the ruling would not have served him well. This is a pragmatic decision on his part. He’d alienated more people then won them over by being against the ruling.

  3. tominsf says

    I’m glad this guy is throwing in the towel, but it strikes me as completely unethical for a public official to mention his religion in an official statement, as if to imply that that religion has some bearing on public policy, which would be a violation of the first amendment.

  4. Esther Blodgett says

    Corbett was told by the state Auditor General (Comptroller) that to waste money on lawyers for this suit (that he would lose) would be a huge waste of money that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does not have.

    The Auditor General, whatever their name, is the hero in this stage of the case.

  5. simon says

    Au contraire, if he let his faith to guide his politics, he should have appealed the ruling. So his statement is just a confirmation that his decision was based on a rational analysis and not faith. There may be a political motive behind it, I am not sure.

  6. Derrick from Philly says

    I didn’t vote yesterday. I’m so ashamed. I intended to vote for the Philadelphian, Alyson Shwartz, but I forgot. That’s what’s wrong with us Democrats (and maybe the party also)–if it’s not a big election (mayor, governor, senator, president)…well, Democrats forget to vote.

    This guy from central PA won the Democratic nomination, Tom WOLF.

    But I would vote for any Democrate against Corbett. Even if you brought George Wallace back from his grave, I’d vote for him over a Republican.

  7. Josh says

    Voting is ultimately an individual responsibility. The party is not at fault if an individual neglects his or her responsibility.

    That being said, the party should continue to make registering and voting easier and fight efforts to create additional barriers to voting.

  8. Derrick from Philly says

    @ “Voting is ultimately an individual responsibility.”

    You’re absolutely right, JOSH. It’s just sometimes it seems that Republicans are better at bringing out their folks in off-year elections.

    Yesterday’s neglect was my fault.

    But I’ll never forget how in 2010 I went back to my old neighborhood on a fairly cold evening temperature, and walked through wet fallen leaves just to vote (two different polling places). And then I had to catch a bus and subway train back to my new apartment. I was a good Democrat in November 2010. We lost anyway.

    So, please forgive me.

  9. Josh says

    You’re forgiven. :)

    I have to get my driver’s license renewed so I can vote in a runoff next week. Our photo ID law hasn’t been thrown out like PA’s.

  10. Chuck Mielke says

    It is easy to see Gov. Corbett’s statement as self-serving. But to leave it at that denies the complexity of the situation: (1) certainly he has an eye to the political import of his statements and acts but, (2) he needs to reconcile his decisions with his personal feelings and (3) he wants to maintain his standing with his church (which has both personal and political meanings). Other standard matters take their places, too: funding, post-Governorship position, feedback from the general public and his “base.” In the last analysis, he’s made a decision that, for now at least, benefits us. Let’s take that and use it for what it’s worth.

  11. Zlick says

    I don’t give a fig about the politics of his statement. Folks, in a 3-day span, that’s two states’ marriage bans overturned, effective immediately, and made permanent with no stays and no appeals. That’s incredible.

    The rest (so far) are going to be tied up in appellate courts for at least the next year. The lack of appeals in Pennsylvania and Oregon is fantastic … and no amount of political cover-seeking in the announcement or campaign strategizing in the decision matters at all.

  12. says

    I agree with @Zlick.

    If I were a PA resident I’d gladly see Corbett out of office, but I’m liking how this played out. He made the right decision. His personal opposition to equality, his personal religious beliefs, his political motivations–they don’t really matter in this instance. Unlike some, who are digging in their heels and doubling down, he saw the writing on the wall. In other words, he’s living in the real world where we’re winning and religious belief has no place in public policy.

    OR and PA are great steps forward, and finally progress without stays.

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