Pennsylvania's coming showdown over same-sex marriage

The state's attorney general won't defend a ban on same-sex marriage -- but the GOP governor has stood by it

By Jillian Rayfield

Published August 8, 2013 1:52PM (EDT)

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, and the state's Attorney General Kathleen Kane are at odds over whether to defend the state's ban on same-sex marriages.

In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, Kane said the law was "wholly unconstitutional" and that she won't defend it from a challenge by the ACLU. But Corbett, who faces an uphill climb to win his reelection race, says that he will still support it.

Politico reports:

The ACLU lawsuit isn’t all that’s fueling the gay marriage controversy. The Corbett administration recently sued Montgomery County register of wills D. Bruce Hanes after he began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the Supreme Court struck down DOMA. And the mayor of Braddock, a Pittsburgh suburb, officiated a gay marriage on Monday in defiance of the law.

Corbett's decision to back the law could help him solidify his support among Republicans. But he also faces a tanking approval rating (30 percent, according to a June Quinnipiac poll), and an electorate increasingly in favor of same-sex marriage (one Franklin and Marshall poll in May showed 54 percent of Pennsylvanians support it).

Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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Gay Marriage Ban Kathleen Kane Pennsylvania Same-sex Marriage Tom Corbett