October 4, 2013 | by Michael K. Lavers
Pa. governor compares same-sex marriage to incest
Tom Corbett, Pennsylvania, Republican Party, gay news, Washington Blade

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (Photo by Jen Grover via Wikimedia Commons)

LGBT rights advocates on Friday  blasted Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett for comparing same-sex marriage to incest.

“It was an appropriate analogy,” Corbett said during a recent interview with a Harrisburg television station in response to a question about his administration’s lawyers comparing gay nuptials to children marrying in an August court filing in a case that sought to stop Montgomery County Registrar of Wills D. Bruce Hanes from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. “I think a much better analogy would have been brother or sister.”

Corbett’s comments come a day after state Reps. Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia) and Steve McCarter (D-Montgomery County) formally introduced a bill that would extend marriage rights to gays and lesbians in the commonwealth.

“The issue of marriage equality is not a joke,” McCarter said. “The governor’s words only further demonstrate that he is out of touch with the majority of Pennsylvanians.”

Fred Sainz of the Human Rights Campaign added that Corbett is “horribly out of touch with reality” and “does not represent the views of fair-minded Pennsylvanians.”

“Opponents of equality are becoming increasingly desperate these days,” Sainz said. “Gov. Corbett’s remarks embody that desperation, especially as equality efforts pick up speed in Pennsylvania.”

Neighboring Maryland, Delaware and New York are among the 13 states and D.C. in which same-sex couples can legally marry.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane in July announced she would not defend the commonwealth’s statutory gay nuptials ban against a lawsuit the American Civil Liberties Union filed against it on behalf of 11 same-sex couples and a widow. Corbett subsequently said his administration would defend the same-sex marriage ban.

The governor sought to clarify his comments in a statement he issued on Friday.

“During a recent interview, I was asked to comment on the ruling by Judge [Dan] Pellegrini that the Montgomery County Clerk of Courts did not have the power to decide the constitutionality of state laws,” Corbett said, as the Associated Press reported. “My words were not intended to offend anyone. If they did, I apologize.”

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

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