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Anti-Gay Activists Attacking Penn. AG Kane Over Marriage Ban Decision

Kathleen_Kane_AGIt appears that many anti-gay activists in Pennsylvania have never actually read the law creating the Attorney General’s position in the state. The Commonwealth Attorneys Act has two governing whether or not Attorney General Kathleen Kane has to defend the ban on same-sex marriage.

The first reads “It shall be the duty of the Attorney General to uphold and defend the constitutionality of all statutes so as to prevent their suspension or abrogation in the absence of a controlling decision by a court of competent jurisdiction.”

However, it also reads “The Attorney General may, upon determining that it is more efficient or otherwise is in the best interest of the Commonwealth, authorize the General Counsel or the counsel for an independent agency to initiate, conduct, or defend any particular litigation or category of litigation in her stead.”

We should not be surprised that the National Organization for Marriage and their allies have begun to attack Kane for deciding, in accordance to the law, to abdicate the defense of the ban on same-sex marriage in light of the United States Supreme Court’s recent rulings and her conscience.

Not long ago, Kane came under fire from Sam Rohrer, a former state representative. He said “The issue is one of defending heterosexual marriage. . .We see a moral imperative for heterosexual marriage due to the revealed truth of God based on eternal law.”

On an online Christian talk show, Rohrer also said that “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.”

Kane has said that Governor Tom Corbett can defend the law if he so wishes.

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One Response to Anti-Gay Activists Attacking Penn. AG Kane Over Marriage Ban Decision

  1. Chuck Anziulewicz

    July 18, 2013 at 10:21 am

    There is a big difference between enforcing a law and defending it in court. Take the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA): It was transparently unconstitutional, since it set up differing legal standards for legally married Gay and Straight couples. That’s why the Obama Administration chose not to DEFEND it in court. This doesn’t mean that the law was not enforced while it was still on the books.

    Similarly, Kathleen Kane will continue to enforce Pennsylvania’s ban on marriage for Gay couples for as long as the law is on the books. But in terms of its constitutionality, why should she be forced to defend in court something that she knows is indefensible, especially given the Supreme Court’s decisions on DOMA and Prop. 8?

    Those of us who support marriage equality for law-abiding, taxpaying Gay couples didn’t really have a choice but to “target” all the piecemeal, state-by-state bans, didn’t we? The Supreme Court could have issued a comprehensive ruling requiring Gay and Straight couples to be treated equally, at ALL levels of government, but instead they chose to punt on the some of the details.

    So what now? Most of the legal benefits of marriage come from the federal government. Take survivor benefits under Social Security, for example. Legally married Gay couples in Iowa are now entitled to those benefits, but suppose one of those couples relocates to West Virginia, which has a statutory ban on same-sex marriage. Does the state have the power to forcibly annul that marriage? And if so, does the couple now LOSE those federal benefits?

    Don’t fault US for continuing this fight. The Supreme Court left us no choice.