Gov. Corbett Will Not Appeal Same-Sex Marriage Decision; State College Gay Community Praises Decision
Gov. Tom Corbett announced in a written statement Wednesday that he will not appeal a federal judge's decision that declared Pennsylvania's same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional.
Here is Corbett's statement in its entirety:
"I have thoroughly reviewed Judge Jones' opinion in the Whitewood case. Given the high legal threshold set forth by Judge Jones in this case, the case is extremely unlikely to succeed on appeal. Therefore, after review of the opinion and on the advice of my Commonwealth legal team, I have decided not to appeal Judge Jones' decision.
"As a Roman Catholic, the traditional teaching of my faith has not wavered. I continue to maintain the belief that marriage is between one man and one woman. My duties as Governor require that I follow the laws as interpreted by the Courts and make a judgment as to the likelihood of a successful appeal.
"Throughout the debate on this important and meaningful issue, I have maintained that Commonwealth officials and agencies would follow the provisions of Pennsylvania's marriage law unless or until a court says otherwise. The court has spoken, and I will ensure that my administration follows the provisions of Judge Jones' order with respect for all parties.
"It is my hope that as the important issue of same-sex relationships continues to be addressed in our society, that all involved be treated with respect."
Allison Subasic, director of Penn State's LGBTA Student Resource Center, praised Corbett's decision.
"That's awesome. That's really wonderful. I'm so glad. I think he made the right decision. It's great. ... It's a great day," says Subasic.
Subasic says the decision will have a significant impact on local gay and lesbian couples not only regarding legal marriage, but the decision also gives same-sex couples rights when it comes to their partner being hospitalized as well as tax benefits.
"It will be a huge impact for them to have equal rights that they haven't been able to have for years," she says. "It will make our relationships be a little more on an equal level with everyone else."
Federal Judge John E. Jones III with the U.S. Middle District Court of Pennsylvania declared Tuesday the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Jones says the ban violates the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment.
"The issue we resolve today is a divisive one. Some of our citizens are made deeply uncomfortable by the notion of same-sex marriage," Jones writes. "However, that same-sex marriage causes discomfort in some does not make its prohibition constitutional. Nor can past tradition trump the bedrock constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection."
If the United States was unwilling to do away with unconstitutional laws, America would still be a country that is segregated based on race, Jones says.
"We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history," Jones writes.
The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference issued a statement this week opposing the judge's decision.
"The Catholic Church teaches that all people are made in the image of God and that everyone has inherent dignity," the group says. "No one should face unjust discrimination. But human experience, considerable social data, as well as our religious convictions, lead us to see clearly that children thrive best in a stable family grounded on the marital union of one man and one woman."
See related story HERE.