Pennsylvania Attorney General says she will not defend anti-marriage law in court
July 11, 2013
Today at a press conference in Philadelphia's National Constitution Center, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced that she will not be defending the PA state statute that prohibits same-sex couples from marrying. The state statute was challenged earlier this week in a lawsuit announced by the American Civil Liberties Union, Whitewood v. Corbett. The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday on behalf of 10 same-sex couples seeking the freedom to marry in their home state, including lead plaintiffs Deb and Susan Whitewood, who have been together for 22 years.
Kane said today:
I cannot ethically defend the constitutionality of Pennsylvania's version of DOMA. I believe it to be wholly unconstitutional. ... I believe that any method that breaks down discrimination and inequality is the method that we should all take, whether it's ... through the courts or the legislature.
PA Governor Tom Corbett, who has announced previously that he does not support the freedom to marry, has not announced whether he will defend the state statute.
Kane's announcement is similar to an announcement from Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan from June 2012. After Lambda Legal filed Darby v. Orr to challenge Illinois' exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage, Madigan requested to intervene in the case in support of the same-sex couples. In 2011, President Barack Obama and the U.S. Department of Justice declared that they would no longer be defending the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law whose central section was struck down by the United States Supreme Court last month.
Freedom to Marry celebrates Attorney General Kane's refusal to defend marriage discrimination in Pennsylvania. With her support and the continued support of so many public officials who understand the importance of the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, we can continue to advance marriage for all.