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04/19/2007


Pennsylvania AG Kathleen Kane Targeted for Impeachment for Refusing to Defend Gay Marriage Ban

Kkane

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who in July announced "I cannot ethically defend the constitutionality of Pennsylvania's (law banning same-sex marriage), where I believe it to be wholly unconstitutional", is now being targeted for impeachment by Republicans, Right Wing Watch reports:

MetcalfeA Republican state representative in Pennsylvania is circulating a memo calling for the impeachment of the state’s attorney general, Kathleen Kane, for her “misbehavior in office” and “violation of her constitutional, statutory, and ethical duties.” Earlier, a Republican state senator also called for her impeachment and asked the legislature to reduce her office’s budget...

...The state representative proposing impeachment, Daryl Metcalfe, recently stopped an openly gay colleague from speaking in favor of marriage equality on the state house floor after the Supreme Court’s recent rulings on marriage, saying his colleague was in “rebellion against God’s law.” Metcalfe even opposed a resolution condemning domestic violence because he feared it would advance the “homosexual agenda.”

Said Metcalfe in his memo: "It is our duty to stop her from engaging in further misbehavior in office."

Read the full memo at Right Wing Watch.


Same-Sex Marriages Continue In PA As Court Receives New Request To Halt Them

Corbett

Ill-content with the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court's lack of response thus far to a petition filed Tuesday intended to stop Montgomery County and its clerk D. Bruce Hanes from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the Pennsylvania Department of Health along with Governor Tom Corbett requested expedited action from the court on Wednesday, ratcheting up the rhetoric against gay marriage in the process. According to Philly.com, Gov. Corbett said of Hanes, "Every time he issues a license, he is violating the law...I know the clerk thinks he is coming down on the right side of history, but he has to come down on the right side of the law."

Hanes began issuing marriage liscenses to same-sex couples last week, much to the dismay of the National Organization of Marriage and other gay marriage foes in Pennsylvania. The move came on the heels of state Attorney General Kathleen Kane's decision not to defend Pennsylvania's law that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman in a federal challenge brought by the ACLU.

In their request filed Wednesday, attorneys for the Department of Health argue,

"The clerk is repeatedly, continuously, and notoriously acting in clear derogation of the Marriage Law. Many agencies of government - federal, state, and local - as well as persons and entities in the private sector may be misled by invalid marriage certificates that purport erroneously to certify that same-sex couples are married under the laws of Pennsylvania."

In fact there is some concern that a defeat in court will mean the invalidation of the 41 or so marriage licenses granted by Montgomery County since last week, just as couples in California saw their marriages invalidated after a court ruled in 2004 that then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom violated state law in allowing same-sex couples to marry. Nevertheless, LGBT allies and advocates in Pennsylvania remain resolved. Montgomery County commissioners are standing behind Hanes and County Solicitor Ray McGarry is said to be "drafting a response to the state's lawsuit."

The Democratic-led Montgomery County commissioners are backing Hanes, with Solicitor Ray McGarry drafting a response to the state's lawsuit.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/217872691.html#DjT4oKHYalG2DuXp.99

6a00d8341c730253ef0191042e9da4970c-250wiAttorney General Kane, perhaps egged-on by the bombast from the Governor and the Department of Health, ramped up her own defense of gay marriage on Tuesday:

"The Marriage Law is one of the last discriminatory statutes in the commonwealth," Kane's office wrote in response to a letter from Corbett's Office of General Counsel. "Just as discriminatory laws based on race, religion, gender, disability, and ethnic origin have been struck down by the courts one by one, so, too, will the Marriage Law." Kane's office called this "a watershed moment" and said it was "certainly not the beginning of the 'chaos and uncertainty' that you hysterically predict."

"The Marriage Law is one of the last discriminatory statutes in the commonwealth," Kane's office wrote in response to a letter from Corbett's Office of General Counsel. "Just as discriminatory laws based on race, religion, gender, disability, and ethnic origin have been struck down by the courts one by one, so, too, will the Marriage Law." Kane's office called this "a watershed moment" and said it was "certainly not the beginning of the 'chaos and uncertainty' that you hysterically predict."
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/217872691.html#DjT4oKHYalG2DuXp.99
The clerk is repeatedly, continuously, and notoriously acting in clear derogation of the Marriage Law," the request states. "Many agencies of government - federal, state, and local - as well as persons and entities in the private sector may be misled by invalid marriage certificates that purport erroneously to certify that same-sex couples are married under the laws of Pennsylvania."
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/217872691.html#DjT4oKHYalG2DuXp.99
"Every time he issues a license, he is violating the law," said Corbett, who was visiting a factory in Collegeville. "I know the clerk thinks he is coming down on the right side of history, but he has to come down on the right side of the law."
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/217872691.html#DjT4oKHYalG2DuXp.99
"Every time he issues a license, he is violating the law," said Corbett, who was visiting a factory in Collegeville. "I know the clerk thinks he is coming down on the right side of history, but he has to come down on the right side of the law."
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/217872691.html#DjT4oKHYalG2DuXp.99
"Every time he issues a license, he is violating the law," said Corbett, who was visiting a factory in Collegeville. "I know the clerk thinks he is coming down on the right side of history, but he has to come down on the right side of the law."
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/217872691.html#DjT4oKHYalG2DuXp.99

PA Sues To Stop Same-Sex Marriages In Montgomery County

6a00d8341c730253ef01901e6c1f11970b-800wiThe Pennsylvania Department of Public Health today filed a state lawsuit to prevent Montgomery County and its clerk, D. Bruce Hanes, from issuing marriage licences to same-sex couples, the AP reports. Hanes first started granting marriage liscenses to same-sex couples last week, compelled he said by the ruling in United States v. Windsor and a desire to be "on the right side of history." While Pennsylvania does not ban same-sex marriage in its constitution as many other states do, the state did pass a law in 1996 that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman and goes even further in not recognizing same-sex unions codified out of state. It is this law that Hanes, an independently elected Democrat, is accused of "repeatedly and continuously" flouting in the suit filed by the state. Meanwhile, Montgomery County solicitor Ray McGarry has insisted that the county will continue to issue marriage licenses to gay couples and believes the state's lawsuit "has serious flaws." That lawsuit seems to be particularly concerned with illegal requests for benefits and the alleged "administrative and legal chaos that is likely to flow from the clerk's unlawful practice of issuing marriage licenses to those who are not permitted under Pennsylvania law to marry."

6a019102598881970c0192abfb4378970d-250wiHanes' move to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples has recently sparked protests and drawn the ire of the Natonal Organization of Marriage. The state's decision to challenge Hanes in court comes the same day that Pennsylvanian Governor Tom Corbett (R) announced, after much speculation, that he would defend the state's law defining marriage in Pennsylvania as being between a man and a woman in a federal lawsuit brought by the ACLU. Democratic state Attorney General Kathleen Kane previously stated she would not defend the law on the grounds that it was discriminatory, a decision which displeased Governor Corbett and The Pennsylvania Pastors Network who called her refusal to defend the law, "a direct attack on the integrity of the family." According to the AP, "[Corbett's] General Counsel James Schultz said that Kane's refusal 'establishes a very troubling precedent.' "This will create chaos and uncertainty - not unlike what we are seeing in the unlawful actions' of Hanes, Schultz wrote."

Perhaps most troubling in this case is the fate of the 34-or-so same-sex couples in Montgomery County that have received marriage licenses as of Tuesday afternoon, liscenses that could potentially be nullified should the court rule against Hanes.

 


Pastors Attack Pennsylvania AG For Not Defending State's Gay Marriage Ban: VIDEO

ROHRER

In response to Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane announcing she will not defend the state's ban on same-sex marriage on the grounds that it is unconstitutional and discriminatory, The Pennsylvania Pastor's Network held a press conference today calling upon Kane to reconsider her decision. You'll recall this is not Kane's first run-in with anti-gay clergy since she made her announcement not to defend the ban. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports on some of the remarks made at the state Capitol:

"The issue is one of defending heterosexual marriage," said Sam Rohrer, president of the pastors network. Mr. Rohrer is a former state representative and 2010 Republican gubernatorial candidate before losing in the primary to now- Gov. Tom Corbett.
 
Mr. Rohrer added, "We see a moral imperative for heterosexual marriage due to the revealed truth of God based on eternal law." 

"In what universe do you think destroying the family can bless our nation?" said Pastor Dale Armstrong.

Speaking yesterday to an online Christian talk-show about what he views as Kane's "dereliction of duty," Rohrer added:

"By saying that she couldn't ethically defend the law means, very clearly, in our opinion, that it is a direct attack on the integrity of the family because marriage between a man and a woman is basically the essence of what constitutes a family.”

The lawsuit to overturn the 1996 ban, brought by the ACLU, comes in the wake of the recent SCOTUS decisions effectively overturning Prop. 8 and the majority of DOMA.

Kane has said Governor Tom Corbett can defend the law if he chooses. Corbett has yet to indicate whether he will take up the mantle of the ban's defense, though some speculate he will have to defend the ban to keep his conservative base should he decide to run for reelection in 2014.

Watch a clip of Rohrer discussing Kane's refusal to defend the law (starting at about the 2:20 mark) AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Pastors Attack Pennsylvania AG For Not Defending State's Gay Marriage Ban: VIDEO" »


Anti-Gay Pastor Arrested Stalking PA AG Kathleen Kane in Protest at Her Harrisburg Office: VIDEO

Pastor Bill Devlin "failed to sign in with an officer" at the Harrisburg office of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane and was found attempting to reach her upstairs office yesterday, when he was confronted by Capitol Police, the Philadelphia Daily News reports:

DevlinWhen officers confronted Devlin, he laid down in an elevator with the door open and refused to move. "The police asked him to get up, he did not, so they handcuffed him and they carried him out of the building," Lubart said.

Devlin, an activist who has, among other things, gone on a hunger strike to protest the church ban in NYC schools, was trying to reach Kane to confront her about the announcement she made this week:

The pastor said he was moved to travel to Harrisburg to pray that "God would soften [Kane's] heart" after the A.G. announced earlier this week that she would not defend Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage. The law is being challenged in a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of 23 state residents by the American Civil Liberties Union.

"I decided at about 6:30 this morning after hearing of the [Attorney] General's decision not to uphold Pennsylvania law, I said, 'Someone's gotta uphold Pennsylvania law,' so I went out to pray for her, and obviously I crossed the line and was arrested," Devlin said yesterday.

Devlin faces a disorderly conduct charge and a fine of $50 to $300.

Kane's announcement, if you missed it, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Continue reading "Anti-Gay Pastor Arrested Stalking PA AG Kathleen Kane in Protest at Her Harrisburg Office: VIDEO" »


Pennsylvania Governor In Tough Spot, Thanks To Marriage Equality Suit

Tom-Corbett-portrait1-768x1024Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett is already in a difficult situation politically. He's a Republican governor of a state that voted for Obama in the 2012 election, and has very low approval ratings as he draws near to his potential reelection battle next year. He's also named in the suit Whitewood v. Corbett, which challenges the state's same-sex marriage ban. Since Attorney General Kathleen Kane, a Democrat, has already declined to defend the lawsuit, it's up to Corbett to decide what to do next. 

Corbett has already expressed disapproval over Kane's actions in a statement released from his office by Pennsylvania General Counsel James D. Schultz: 

“We are surprised that the Attorney General, contrary to her constitutional duty under the Commonwealth Attorneys Act, has decided not to defend a Pennsylvania statute lawfully enacted by the General Assembly, merely because of her personal beliefs."

Nevertheless, Corbett is now faced with a difficult choice, alienate the conservative base that elected him in 2010, or risk running contrary to the popular opinion in his state. Poll data from earlier this year indicated that 52% of voters in the state supported marriage equality, as opposed to 41% who opposed it. According to Politico, he has expressed support for the law in the past. Unfortunately, his approval rating has also not climbed above 35% since his election, and there is already a crowded field of Democrats vying to take his place. Quinnipac Poll data has already declared Corbett to be the U.S.'s least popular sitting governor, and 53% of voters have already declared that he does not deserve re-election. According to Muhlenberg College pollster Chris Borick, Conservative support for Corbett is already "lukewarm." Thus, it might not be wise for him to stick to his guns on this issue.

PennsylvaniaFranklin & Marshall pollster Terry Madonna is confident that the governor will defend the law, stating that, “He opposes gay marriage and his conservative base would be furious with him if he does not.” Borick also did note that midterm elections do tend to have lower turnouts, and tend to skew towards older and more conservative voters. That said, Corbett has also yet to announce that he's running for reelection. Thus, poll data may not play into the equation at all, for Corbett, if his plans do not include running a reelection campaign. 

Regardless of how the governor will eventually decide, his time is starting to run out. Judge John E. Jones, III, has already been assigned to oversee the case, and with Prop. 8 officially dead, the ACLU is anxious to knock over the next marriage equality domino. Of the three states with pending ACLU lawsuits, Pennsylvania is definitely the bluest. 

Thus far, Corbett's office has only had one thing to say to the press regarding his decision...that they “will continue to review the lawsuit.”


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