HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Republican governor of Pennsylvania has decided not to appeal a federal ruling striking down the Commonwealth’s ban on same-sex ‘marriage,’ stating that he felt it would be ‘extremely unlikely’ that he would succeed.
“As a Roman Catholic, the traditional teaching of my faith has not wavered. I continue to maintain the belief that marriage is between one man and one woman,” Gov. Tom Corbett said in a statement released on Wednesday. “[But] 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.”
“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,” he stated. “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.”
As previously reported, a federal judge appointed by then-President George W. Bush, who is known for his 2005 ruling against the teaching of Intelligent Design in public schools, has struck down a Pennsylvania law banning same-sex “marriage” on Tuesday.
“We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history,” wrote U.S. District Court Judge John Edward Jones II on Tuesday. “We now join the 12 federal district courts across the country, which, when confronted with these inequities in their own states, have concluded that all couples deserve equal dignity in the realm of civil marriage.”
The lawsuit Whitewood v. Corbett was filed by the ACLU last July in an attempt to strike down Pennsylvania’s longstanding 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.”
Corbett ended up defending the Commonwealth alone—with the assistance of General Counsel James Schultz and team—as Attorney General Kathleen Kane refused to fight the legal challenge, agreeing with the ACLU’s position that the law is unconstitutional. But following Corbett’s decision to now end the battle, some are expressing disapproval, stating that they are “outraged that the governor has chosen the easy road.”
“If you did a poll in Pennsylvania—a poll with a fair question that asked, ‘Do you agree with or disagree with the traditional definition of marriage?’ I would bet you that most Pennsylvanians would agree with that,” attorney Randy Wenger of the Independence Law Center told OneNewsNow. “Unfortunately, we have a single judge who struck down our marriage law and a governor who’s not willing to defend it.”
“To allow Pennsylvania’s DOMA be struck down without a fight is beyond belief. The majority of Pennsylvanians know marriage is only between one man and one woman, and to not appeal the decision sends the message that the governor does not hold that strong belief. If he did, he would fight for it,” said Diane Gramley, president of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania. “To rewrite Pennsylvania’s marriage laws is the responsibility of the legislature, not an unelected judge. We have been reduced to an oligarchy rather than a representative republic.”
Corbett was elected as governor in 2010 with a 54 percent majority. He is currently running for re-election against Democratic candidate Tom Wolf, and ran unopposed in the Republican primaries.
Photo: Hunter Kahn