AG Kane says she won't defend PA law banning gay marriage

Written by The Associated Press | Jul 11, 2013 9:30 AM

(Philadelphia) -- Defending Pennsylvania's law effectively banning same-sex marriage against a legal challenge in federal court will fall to Governor Corbett.

State Attorney General Kathleen Kane says she won't defend the law.

Kane is a supporter of same-sex marriage, while Corbett is an opponent.

Both were named in a lawsuit filed in federal court Tuesday seeking to overturn the law and legalize same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania.

``We are pleased that the Attorney General recognizes what we have long known...that Pennsylvania's ban on marriage for same-sex couples is indefensible," says Reggie Shuford, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania. "We look forward to continuing the fight to make sure that one day every Pennsylvanian will be free to marry the person he or she loves.'' 

Pennsylvania law says it's the attorney general's duty to defend the constitutionality of state laws. But it also says the attorney general may allow lawyers for the governor's office or agencies to defend a lawsuit if it's more efficient or in the state's best interests.

``We are surprised that the attorney general, contrary to her constitutional duty under the Commonwealth Attorneys Act, has decided not to defend a Pennsylvania statute lawfully enacted by the General Assembly, merely because of her personal beliefs," says Governor Corbett's general counsel, James Schultz. "We have not received any formal notification of Attorney General Kane's decision. While we await that notification and accompanying legal justification, we will continue to review the lawsuit filed by the ACLU.'' 

*This story has been updated 4:44 p.m. 7/11/13*

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