NEW CASTLE —
Pennsylvania has a marriage mess on its hands.
The issue, of course, is gay marriage and its legal status in the commonwealth.
Under state law, gay marriage is illegal. But the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit challenging this status.
That action is tied to a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a federal law refusing to recognize gay marriage. That legislation didn’t prevent gay marriages in states that wanted them, but it allowed other states not to accept these unions and denied gay couples federal benefits and other resources married folks typically enjoy.
Essentially, the court was saying that it is unconstitutional for the federal government to deny couples standard marital benefits based on gender. So the question becomes, do the same prohibitions now exist for states.
If they do, Pennsylvania’s law won’t survive.
With the filing of the ACLU suit, quite a bit followed. For instance, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced she would not defend the state’s law, on the grounds it was blatantly unconstitutional. That left it to the Corbett administration to handle the legal challenge.
It also produced a political tussle between the attorney general and the governor, with definite undertones of a potential clash between Corbett and Kane in the next gubernatorial contest.
Meanwhile, in a few locations around the commonwealth, officials have announced they will marry gay couples, regardless of state law. This has prompted the Corbett administration to pursue legal action against these officials. So the culture wars continue as the legal costs for taxpayers rise.
There are a few reasoned points worth making here. First, while Kane may be correct in her assessment of state law, we think she needs to do her duty as attorney general and defend it. Of course, if she did so and would lose, she would be open to criticism from gay marriage foes claiming she didn’t do her best.
And we think it is inappropriate for any municipal official simply to sneer at state law, regardless of what they think of it. That sets a dangerous precedent on all manner of issues.
That said, the muddle on gay marriage in Pennsylvania is a consequence of inactivity by the Legislature and Corbett. They should have seen this situation coming a mile away and dealt with it through the legislative process. That didn’t mean they had to legalize gay marriage, but they had an obligation to allow unions of gay couples in a manner that protected the state from this sort of controversy, cost and embarrassment.
As we have said before, states need to have mechanisms — be they gay marriage, civil unions or something similar — that ensures equal protection under the law. Otherwise, you get what Pennsylvania now has.
NEW CASTLE —
Pennsylvania has a marriage mess on its hands.
Our Opinion: Public to get chance to comment on local project
A long-anticipated public hearing is finally scheduled for Lawrence County’s proposed casino. The May 8 hearing at the Mahoning Township Community Center in Hillsville will give citizens the opportunity to comment on the planned Lawrence Downs Casino.
Stolen passport revelation raises air concerns
Whenever a plane crashes under mysterious circumstances, suspicion quickly focuses on terrorism. And that’s the case with a Malaysian airliner that apparently went down in the South China Sea Saturday. Searchers have been looking for wreckage of the passenger jet with 239 people aboard, so far without results.
Our Opinion: College admission test undergoes real-world changes
In the realm of education, the Scholastic Aptitude Test has something of a make-or-break reputation. That’s because a student’s SAT results — or those of its counterpart, the ACT — are a major factor in the admissions decisions by colleges.
Our Opinion: Discovery of ancient virus raises concerns
In the 1951 science fiction classic “The Thing from Another World,” a spacecraft crashes in the arctic. A group of humans investigates and discovers an alien buried in ice. Once thawed, the alien poses a threat to the humans, who eventually destroy it.
Our Opinion: Some consumers pay price of changing power suppliers
Choice may be good, but an informed choice is even better. That’s the conclusion we draw from reports here in Lawrence County and elsewhere around Pennsylvania about some residents and businesses receiving electric bills that are substantially higher than normal.
Our Opinion: The West has decisions to make, and Russia may pay price
Let’s begin by acknowledging that the United States will not be sending troops to Ukraine. That country — despite an incursion by Russian troops — is not of vital strategic interest to America, and there is no treaty obligation to defend it.
Our Opinion: Giving Laurel teachers free tuition is inherently unfair
Whenever government hands out perks to its own, red flags are raised. And arguments that they cost taxpayers nothing can ring a little hollow.
Our Opinion:Tax reform proposal sounds good, but may lack support
If there’s one thing that Democrats and Republicans in Washington agree on, it’s that America needs a simpler tax code.
Our Opinion: Obama administration targets junk food ads
We anticipate some controversy over the Obama administration’s proposed new rules regarding schools and junk food. Mainly it will come from those who complain about federal meddling in public education.
Our Opinion: After five years, Jordan Brown case continues — sadly for all
It’s not unusual for newspapers to look back on major news events when key anniversaries come about. So it was that the New Castle News has been running articles on the fifth anniversary of the 2009 slaying of Kenzie Houk, and the subsequent arrest of Jordan Brown for the crime.
- More Editorials Headlines
- Our Opinion: Public to get chance to comment on local project