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Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett Comes Out in Support of LGBT Anti-Discrimination Bill

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett today came out in support of an LGBT non-discrimination bill pending in the state, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports:

CorbettCorbett, who has previously staked out conservative positions on social issues, told The Inquirer that he was "coming out in support" of the bill after learning that federal law does not cover discrimination in the state.

"I've had people come and talk to me about how they were discriminated against," said Corbett, who served for eight years as the state's attorney general. "The federal government has antidiscrimination laws. I believed they covered it."

Corbett's support of legislation that has languished in the General Assembly for a decade is viewed by many advocates as a major step forward on a civil rights issue.

"This is remarkably big news," said Ted Martin, executive director of Equality Pennsylvania, a statewide gay rights advocacy group. "His leadership will move the issue forward in a way that is long overdue."

As you may recall, in October Corbett made headlines when he compared gay marriage to incest.


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.  

 


Pennsylvania Governor Apologizes for Comparing Gay Marriage to Incest

Corbett

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has issued a statement apologizing for remarks he made on an 'Ask the Governor' program this morning in which he compared gay marriage to incest.

"My words were not intended to offend anyone. If they did, I apologize...I explained that current Pennsylvania statute delinieates categories of individuals unable to obtain a marriage license. As an example, I cited siblings as one such category, which is clearly defined in state law. My intent was to provide an example of these categories."

Watch a video of Corbett's interview HERE.


Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett Compares Gay Marriage to Incest: VIDEO

Corbett

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett compared gay marriage to incest this morning during a radio interview this morning, the AP reports:

CorbettCorbett make the remark on a Friday morning news broadcast by WHP-TV in Harrisburg, when asked about a statement his lawyers made in a court filing in August. The state attorneys at that time compared gay and lesbian couples to children, as neither may legally marry in Pennsylvania.

Corbett, who previously called that statement inappropriate, now says he thinks "a much better analogy would have been brother and sister, don't you?"

Watch the video (via Think Progress),...AFTER THE JUMP...

Corbett's remarks in August were made in a brief to halt the marriage licenses being issued to gay couples in Montgomery County. The brief compared gay and lesbian couples to 12-year-olds, who are also barred from marrying under state law, reading:

"Had the clerk issued marriage licenses to 12-year-olds in violation of state law, would anyone seriously contend that each 12-year-old . . . is entitled to a hearing on the validity of his 'license'?"

In related news, yesterday gay Rep. Brian Sims and Rep. Steve McCarter introduced a marriage equality bill in Love Park in Philadelphia.

Said McCarter at the introduction:

“This goes beyond simply legalizing gay marriage,. This is about ensuring all Pennsylvanians have equal benefits and protections before the law. Marriage equality and the benefits associated with it need to be afforded to all of our citizens, and the people of Pennsylvania support that idea. The issue is getting our fellow legislators to listen to their constituents and the voice of Pennsylvanians who are calling for this bill to proceed.”

Think Progress also notes a new poll revealing that 54 percent of voters in Pennsylvania support a marriage equality bill.

Watch the video), AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett Compares Gay Marriage to Incest: VIDEO" »


Pennsylvania Governor hires $400/Hour Lawyer to Defend Ban on Gay Marriage

LambPennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has brought in outside help to defend the state's ban on same-sex marriage in a federal lawsuit, the AP reports:

Corbett's Office of General Counsel said Thursday that West Chester lawyer Bill Lamb (pictured), a former Supreme Court justice, was hired to be lead counsel at a rate of $400 an hour. His associates will be paid $325 an hour.

The case filed two months ago seeks to overturn the 1996 ban on same-sex marriage. Pennsylvania is the only northwestern state that doesn't allow gay marriage or have a system of civil unions.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane has said she won't defend the law because it's unconstitutional.

Pennsylvania's response in the case is due September 16.


PA Governor Tom Corbett: Comparing Gay Couples to '12-year-Olds' an 'Inappropriate Analogy'

Yesterday, Towleroad reported that Pennsyvania Governor Tom Corbett's administration filed a brief Wednesday in defense of the state's ban on same-sex marriage seeking to halt the marriage licenses that have been handed out for a month in Montogmery County. The brief compared gay and lesbian couples to 12-year-olds, who are also barred from marrying under state law, reading:

Corbett"Had the clerk issued marriage licenses to 12-year-olds in violation of state law, would anyone seriously contend that each 12-year-old . . . is entitled to a hearing on the validity of his 'license'?"

Corbett's office is now backtracking on that statement, Reuters reports:

Speaking for Corbett, who is on vacation in South Carolina, Nils Hagen-Frederiksen, spokesman for the Office of General Counsel, said the analogy was being taken out of context through a campaign of misinformation by the governors detractors. The reference to 12-year-olds was only meant to illustrate one group that is prohibited from marrying under state law, he said.

But it's an analogy, the governor feels was inappropriate, Hagen-Frederiksen said. The governor never said it or wrote it, Hagen-Frederiksen said, but his detractors are acting like he did.

So Corbett wants to clear his name and wants the public to know, he doesn't agree with it and he thinks it was an inappropriate analogy, Hagen-Frederiksen said.

"That's coming form the governor's mouth," he said.

Political enemies of the Republican administration spent a good part of Thursday trumpeting the 12-year-old reference as an alleged act of bias.

"Tom Corbett needs to remove every single person who signed off on this bigoted, disgusting brief from his office today," Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burn.


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