HARRISBURG – A former Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice has joined a legal team that is fighting efforts to redefine the institution of marriage in the Commonwealth.
As previously reported, the lawsuit Whitewood v. Corbett was filed by the ACLU in July in an attempt to strike down Pennsylvania’s longstanding same-sex “marriage” ban. The lawsuit consists of over 20 plaintiffs, including four homosexual twosomes who were “married” in other states, but are not recognized as a couple in Pennsylvania.
“It is hereby declared to be the strong and longstanding public policy of this Commonwealth that marriage shall be between one man and one woman,” Pennsylvania’s “Marriage Between Persons of the Same Sex” statute outlines. “A marriage between persons of the same sex which was entered into in another state or foreign jurisdiction, even if valid where entered into, shall be void in this Commonwealth.”
The ACLU asserts that the law is injurious to homosexuals and robs them of their right to marry, including those who currently raise children together.
“Pennsylvania law denies the plaintiff couples and other same-sex couples this fundamental right by denying them access to the state-recognized institution of marriage and refusing to recognize the marriages they entered into in other states,” the legal challenge states. “The Commonwealth can demonstrate no important interest to justify denying the plaintiff couples this fundamental right. Indeed, it cannot demonstrate that the denial is tailored to any legitimate interest at all.”
Republican Governor Tom Corbett and Democratic Attorney General Kathleen Kane are among those named in the suit, but Kane has refused to fight the legal challenge as she agrees with the ACLU’s position. Corbett’s attorney, James Schultz, chastised Kane for acting “contrary to her constitutional duty,” and stepped up to the plate to lead the charge to defend the 17-year-old statute.
Schultz announced on Wednesday that he had tapped former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice William H. Lamb to join the team.
“The Office of General Counsel provides comprehensive legal services to numerous state agencies and executives, but we do not typically defend cases that solely challenge the constitutionality of a statute,” Schultz stated. “Who better than a former Supreme Court justice and his firm to assist in addressing this type of fundamental question?”
Lamb was nominated to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2003 by former Governor Mark Schweiker, and served for one year while Ed Rendell was governor of the Commonwealth. Prior to his nomination, he served as an assistant district attorney in Chester County, as well as a special prosecutor. He now acts as chairman of the law firm of Lamb McErlane PC, and is recognized as a top 100 Pennsylvania Super Lawyer for appellate law .
“We look forward to offering our insights to this serious constitutional question,” Lamb commented in a news release announcing his involvement. “We are honored to once again have the opportunity to serve the Commonwealth.”
Reports outline that Governor Corbett supports joining the 29 states that have a constitutional amendment on the books enshrining marriage as being between one man and one woman.