PA Gov. Tom Corbett: State lawyers made bad analogy likening gay marriage to child nuptials

The Morning Call
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August 30, 2013

PITTSBURGH — Gov. Tom Corbett said Thursday that state lawyers made a bad analogy by likening same-sex marriage to a partnership between 12-year-olds to make the legal point neither is valid under state law.

Lawyers for the Pennsylvania Department of Health included the statement in a legal brief filed as part of a lawsuit against a Montgomery County clerk who has been issuing marriage licenses to gay couples despite a state ban on same-sex nuptials.

"Had the Clerk issued marriage licenses to 12-year-olds in violation of state law, would anyone seriously contend that each 12-year-old has a legally enforceable 'interest' in his 'license' and is entitled to a hearing on the validity of his 'license' … ?" the state lawyers wrote.

Speaking for Corbett, who is on vacation in South Carolina, Nils Hagen-Frederiksen, spokesman for the Office of General Counsel, said the analogy was being taken out of context through a campaign of misinformation by the governors detractors. The reference to 12-year-olds was only meant to illustrate one group that is prohibited from marrying under state law, he said.

But it's an analogy, the governor feels was inappropriate, Hagen-Frederiksen said. The governor never said it or wrote it, Hagen-Frederiksen said, but his detractors are acting like he did.

So Corbett wants to clear his name and wants the public to know, he doesn't agree with it and he thinks it was an inappropriate analogy, Hagen-Frederiksen said.

"That's coming form the governor's mouth," he said.