Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett will not challenge a same-sex marriage ruling overturning the state’s ban on gay marriage. In a decision that made Pennsylvania the 19th state to recognize same-sex marriages, proponents expected an appeal from Corbett, who has been very vocal about his opposition to gay marriage. But Wednesday, a day following the ruling made by U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III, the governor decided to let the ruling stand.
Corbett cited the unlikeness of an appeal to stand as the main reason for his decision. In a statement released on Wednesday, he said that he carefully reviewed the case that challenged the ban and “given the legal threshold set forth by Judge Jones in this case, the case is extremely unlikely to succeed on appeal.”
It did not, however, change Corbett’s stance on gay marriage. Back in October 2013, Corbett appeared on a news show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and compared same-sex marriage to incest, drawing comparisons between the marriage of a sister and brother. Corbett received much criticism for the comments from gay rights advocates, but never backed down from his stance. Although he will not appeal Jones’ ruling, he stands by the teachings of his faith.
“As a Roman Catholic, the traditional teaching of my faith has not wavered. I continue to maintain my 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.”
Corbett’s decision means that same-sex couples in Pennsylvania can marry without the worry of the ban being reinstated by a higher court. It also makes the state the last northeastern U.S. state to legalize gay marriage. The couples who filed the lawsuit were called courageous by judge Jones for challenging the constitutionality of the ban passed by lawmakers in 1996. As a result of their bravery, many same-sex couples in Pennsylvania are obtaining marriage licenses and fulfilling dreams of getting married and having those marriages recognized by their state.