Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pennsylvania's Religious Right Responds to AG's Refusal to Defend Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Earlier this month, nearly two dozen plaintiffs represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and the law firm of Hangley, Aronchick, Segal, Pudlin and Schiller filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn Pennsylvania's same-sex marriage ban, according to NBC 10 Philadelphia. On Thursday, July 11th, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced that she will not defend Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage against the legal challenge. By refusing to defend the same-sex marriage ban, Kane passes the task to Gov. Tom Corbett, according to ABC 6.

The news was applauded by supporters of the suit but frowned upon by others. Pennsylvania General Counsel James Schultz expressed surprise at Kane's decision, according to Pennlive. "We are surprised that the attorney general, contrary to her constitutional duty under the Commonwealth Attorneys Act, has decided not to defend a Pennsylvania statute lawfully enacted by the General Assembly, merely because of her personal beliefs,” Schultz said.

As you can imagine, Kane's move did not go over well with Pennsylvania's Religious Right, who wasted no time in slamming her decision.

First, the Pennsylvania Family Institute blasted Attorney General Kane's refusal to defend the ban. In a July 15th commentary, PFI complained that Kane allegedly "cannot be trusted to be impartial, and not politically motivated."
"Rather than rightfully fulfilling her responsibilities to enforce and defend duly-enacted laws in Pennsylvania, Attorney General Kane has appointed herself “judge” over our Defense of Marriage Act, stating “Pennsylvania’s DOMA has no legitimate purpose other than to disparage and injure same-sex couples by placing them in a less respected position than others.”

Really?  Promoting an institution (marriage between one man and one woman) where children have both a mother and a father isn’t a legitimate purpose?  The legislature certainly thinks it is – the General Assembly passed the DOMA with fewer than 20 voting no."

The right-wing Pennsylvania Pastors Network was also unhappy with Attorney General Kane's decision. On Tuesday, July 16th, the organization released a statement claiming that Kane's decision "encourages lawlessness" and constitutes a "dereliction of duty". 

“This activist decision by AG Kane is an example of the type of lawless action by government officials encouraged by the Obama administration’s Executive Branch with its unlawful refusal to defend DOMA, and the US Supreme Court’s illegitimate ruling against DOMA and California’s Prop 8. The refusal to fulfill constitutional obligations and duties that comprise the very underpinnings of the constitutional oath of office is the very essence of tyranny and must be opposed by all those who love liberty. When our highest elected governmental officials declare themselves to be above the law they do not just tarnish their own integrity, they actually cultivate the spirit of lawlessness among the citizens. I urge those in office to understand the gravity of their actions and for the sake of liberty, to uphold the law.”

As enlightened Pennsylvania's advocate for same-sex marriage, right-wing voices in the Keystone State will undoubtedly continue to resist LGBTQ equality.

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