STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 11: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett speaks with Penn State student leaders behind him during a press conference at the Nittany Lion Inn, November 11, 2011 in State College, Pennsylvania. Corbett has said he supports the Penn State Board of Trustees decision to fire former football head coach Joe Paterno. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Hide Caption

Pa. Gov: Gay marriage is like marriage of a brother and sister

a a a a
Share this story

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Republican Gov. Tom Corbett compared the marriage of same-sex couples to the marriage of a brother and sister during an appearance on a Friday morning TV news show.

The Pennsylvania governor was on WHP-TV in Harrisburg speaking about gay marriage when an anchor asked about a statement his lawyers made in a recent court filing, comparing the marriage of gay couples to the marriage of children because neither can legally wed in the state.

"It was an inappropriate analogy, you know," Corbett said. "I think a much better analogy would have been brother and sister, don't you?"

Corbett, a former federal prosecutor and two-term state attorney general, also said he does not think a pending legal challenge to Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage belongs in federal court.

"The Supreme Court left it up to the states to determine under their laws as to what is and isn't a marriage," Corbett said. "The federal court shouldn't even be involved in this. But if they say they are, then they're going to make a determination whether the state has the right to determine that a marriage is only between a man and a woman and not between two individuals of the same sex."

Mark Aronchick, a lawyer for the plaintiffs in that case, called Corbett's remarks "insensitive, insulting and plainly wrong."

"In other words, some kind of incestuous relationship," Aronchick said. "He's just out of touch on this one. Gay people marry for the same reasons straight people do - to express their love and to declare their commitment before friends and family."

A Corbett spokesman offered no immediate comment Friday morning.

Ted Martin with Equality Pennsylvania, which advocates on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, called the governor's remarks "shocking and hurtful" and asked him to apologize.

Corbett's attorneys in August included a reference to children in a legal brief involving same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses. In the court filing opposing allowing same-sex couples to intervene in the state's lawsuit to bar a suburban Philadelphia county from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the lawyers made an analogy to a pair of 12-year-olds, saying if the children were issued a marriage license and tried to defend it in court, they wouldn't be taken seriously because the license was never valid.

Corbett later rejected that analogy, saying the case revolved around the question of whether a public official had "the authority to disregard state law based on his own personal legal opinion about the constitutionality of a statute."

A state judge sided with Corbett in that case, ordering the clerk to stop issuing the licenses. Other challenges to the same-sex ban are also pending in state courts.

A hearing on the federal challenge to the same-sex marriage ban is scheduled for Wednesday in Harrisburg.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Print this article

Comments

Hmm... It looks like you’re not a WCPO Insider. or Subscribe now to contribute!

More National News
Study: Girls view sexual violence as normal
Study: Girls view sexual violence as normal

New research from the journal Gender & Society shows girls view sexual violence as a normal part of life.

Mother of 3 shot, killed while on phone with 911
Mother of 3 shot, killed while on phone with 911

A 44-year-old mother of three was shot to death by her "hallucinating" husband while she was on the phone with 911, waiting for…

Little government response a year later
Little government response a year later

A year after homemade bombs ripped through the Boston Marathon, state and federal officials have enacted virtually no policy changes in…

Boston Marathon staff confident of safe race
Boston Marathon staff confident of safe race

The arrest of a man with a rice cooker in his backpack near the Boston Marathon finish line led police to step up patrols Wednesday, while…

Missing Neb. boy, 3, found safe in toy claw game
Missing Neb. boy, 3, found safe in toy claw game

A 3-year-old Nebraska boy is now safe after somehow crawling his way into a stuffed animal claw machine at a bowling alley across the street…

Male cop dresses as Amish woman to stop flasher
Male cop dresses as Amish woman to stop flasher

A western Pennsylvania police officer says he spent much of December and January dressed as an Amish woman in hopes of scaring off a man…

Man charged with marathon hoax held on bail
Man charged with marathon hoax held on bail

A man who authorities say was taken into custody near the Boston Marathon finish line carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker on the…

Court to weigh challenge to ban on campaign lies
Court to weigh challenge to ban on campaign lies

Negative campaigning and mudslinging may be a fact of life in American politics, but can false accusations made in the heat of an election be…

Dress codes: Where should schools set limits?
Dress codes: Where should schools set limits?

They're called leggings - popular fashion items that are tight-fitting pants to some, and glorified tights to others.

Boston PD safely blow up suspicious backpacks
Boston PD safely blow up suspicious backpacks

Survivors, first responders and relatives of those killed in the Boston Marathon bombing marked the anniversary Tuesday with tributes that…