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.
A long-awaited study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a link between tainted tap water at a U.S. Marine Corps…
Happy or sad? Content or bored? And how many times did you smile yesterday? A panel of experts thinks Uncle Sam should be more in touch with…
The Obama administration said Friday it will allow some companies to kill or injure bald and golden eagles for up to 30 years without penalty
A Washington state woman who regularly monitors police scanner traffic unknowingly live-tweeted about her husband's death in a freeway crash.
A fourth straight month of solid hiring cut the U.S. unemployment rate in November to a five-year low of 7 percent. The gains in the job…
A big chunk of the U.S. is getting a blast of wintry weather.
One fisherman uses a bike to deliver hundreds of pounds of salmon to local markets. A mom who regularly shuttles her two kids around town…
It looks like President Barack Obama's fickle health insurance website is finally starting to put up some respectable sign-up numbers,…
Authorities say they've arrested an 18-year-old accused of stealing part of the Porsche that "Fast & Furious" star Paul…
"Cannibal sandwiches," an appetizer featuring raw, lean ground beef served on cocktail bread, may be a Wisconsin tradition, but…