Mt. Vernon Register-News

Community News Network

May 22, 2014

Gay marriage turns tide as governors drop defense of state bans

PHILADELPHIA — Pennsylvania, the last northeastern state to prohibit gay marriage, will let a judge's ruling end the ban without a fight as Gov. Tom Corbett, R, follows others in conceding court losses.

The ruling made Pennsylvania the 25th state to have gay marriage declared legal by voters, lawmakers or courts, evenly dividing the nation almost a year after a Supreme Court ruling triggered a flood of lawsuits.

Corbett, who is running for re-election this year, is the latest governor to abandon defense of same-sex marriage bans after court rulings, following New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, both Republicans.

"As a Roman Catholic, the traditional teaching of my faith has not wavered," Corbett said Wednesday in a statement, saying he had to consider the chances of successfully appealing the May 20 court decision. "I continue to maintain the belief that marriage is between one man and one woman."

Montana Gov, Steve Bullock, D, said Wednesday that a federal judge should overturn his state's ban after four couples sued. Bullock is at odds with the state's Republican Attorney General Tim Fox, who promised to defend the ban.

In Philadelphia, more than 50 gay couples have applied for marriage licenses, a clerk in the city's Marriage License Bureau, said Wednesday. The office stayed open past regular business hours to accommodate the couples.

Corbett's decision helps break down a "dark wall of discrimination," Chad Griffin, president of the advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement following Corbett's decision.

Corbett chose to defend his political aspirations over marriage, which is "a unique public good," said Brian Brown, president of the Washington-based National Organization for Marriage, which was formed in 2007 to marshal opposition to same-sex marriage.

 Pennsylvania joins 18 other states and the District of Columbia where same-sex marriage is currently available. In six other states, court rulings that such bans are unconstitutional have been put on hold during appeals.

Proponents of same-sex marriage have won at least a dozen consecutive victories since the Supreme Court overturned part of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that said the federal government could only recognize heterosexual marriages. The high court also rejected an appeal of a decision that threw out a voter-approved California gay-marriage ban.

More than 70 marriage-equality cases are pending in 29 states and Puerto Rico, the Human Rights Campaign said. With Montana's suit, North Dakota and South Dakota became the only states with gay-marriage bans that haven't been challenged in court, the group said.

The wave of litigation prompted legal officers in some states to decide against defending the bans. Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, D, in July called the prohibition unconstitutional. Attorneys general in Kentucky, Illinois, Nevada, Virginia, Oregon and California, all Democrats, also refused to defend bans.

At least four lawsuits were filed attacking Pennsylvania's 1996 marriage law. U.S. District Judge John Jones in Harrisburg ruled on a challenge to the law by 11 gay couples and a widow.

An appeal of Jones's ruling is "extremely unlikely to succeed" given the high legal threshold the judge set in the case, Corbett said.

Corbett was criticized by gay rights' advocates in October for comparing gay marriage to incest. When asked his opinion in a television interview on arguments by state lawyers that gay marriage should be illegal just as marriage between children, Corbett said a better analogy would be between brother and sister. He later said he didn't intend to offend anyone.

Same-sex marriage is supported by most Pennsylvanians, said Chris Borick, director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Corbett's decision not to challenge the ruling may appeal to the population broadly, but also "flirt with creating resentment" among social conservatives who may not show up to vote in November, Borick said.

"This year he's trying fairly hard to make some appeals to the middle of the road Pennsylvania voters," Borick said.

 

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • Does Twitter need a censor?

    Twitter decided last year to make images more prominent on its site. Now, the social network is finding itself caught between being an open forum and patrolling for inappropriate content.

    August 21, 2014

  • sleepchart.jpg America’s sleep-deprived cities

    Americans might run on sleep, but those living in the country's largest cities don't appear to run on much.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Africa goes medieval in its fight against Ebola

    As the Ebola epidemic claims new victims at an ever-increasing rate, African governments in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have instituted a "cordon sanitaire," deploying troops to forcibly isolate the inhabitants in an area containing most of the cases.

    August 18, 2014

  • Democrat? Republican? There's an app for that

    If you're a Republican, you might want to think twice before buying Lipton Iced Tea, and forget about Starbucks coffee. If you're a Democrat, put down that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and throw away the cylinder of Quaker Oats in your pantry.

    August 18, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

  • weightloss.jpg The scales of injustice: Weight loss differs between men, women

    You're not imagining it: There really are differences between the way men and women diet, lose weight and respond to exercise.

    August 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drug dealers going corporate

    A top federal official on Tuesday said that 105 banks and credit unions are doing business with legal marijuana sellers, suggesting that federal rules giving financial institutions the go-ahead to provide services to dealers are starting to work.

    August 13, 2014

  • wwimemorial.jpg The benefit of World War I omission on the Washington Mall

    By 1982, when the Vietnam Veterans Memorial opened on the National Mall, something had shifted in the way we remember our wars. A national memorial, prominently placed on the nation's most symbolically significant public space, came to seem like an essential dignity offered to veterans, their families and the memory of those who gave their lives. But there is an exception.

    August 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • In Japan, ramen aficionados worry their favorite dish is coming off the boil

    "The ramen boom has ended," said Ivan Orkin, a New Yorker who first traveled to Japan in the 1980s and now owns two noodle-soup restaurants in Tokyo. "A boom implies that there are new avenues and new growth to pursue, and that's not the case in Japan anymore."

    August 11, 2014

  • Ronnie Ellis: U.S. Senate race trail long and interesting

    By Ronnie Ellis/CNHI News Service

    FRANKFORT — Last week was a long one, endured under the onslaught of an awful summer cold and played out across the commonwealth. It began in Fancy Farm and ended it in Corbin with a trip to Hazard in between.

    August 9, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks