Here's a little more background info:Taxpayers will spend $400 an hour — and possibly a lot more — for Gov. Tom Corbett to hire an outside law firm to fight a federal lawsuit challenging the state's 1996 ban on gay marriage.
The Corbett administration said Thursday it is hiring the law firm of William H. Lamb, a former state Supreme Court justice, because state Attorney General Kathleen Kane withdrew from the lawsuit in July.
Kane's refusal to handle the case means the state does not have access to the attorney general's legal expertise on constitutional claims, Pennsylvania General Counsel James Schultz said in a statement.
"The Office of General Counsel provides comprehensive legal services to numerous state agencies and executives, but we do not typically defend cases that solely challenge the constitutionality of a statute," Schultz said.
In a joint statement, Schultz and Lamb said their job is to defend the state's Defense of Marriage Act while respecting the interests and dignity of all the parties involved in this case. The law defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
"Our mission is to present a thorough legal argument in the hope that a definitive ruling from the court will bring clarity to this issue," Schultz said. - The Morning Call, 9/6/13
And here's a little more background info on the Montgomery County lawsuit:The 1996 state law says that marriage must be between a man and a woman, and that same-sex unions performed elsewhere cannot be recognized in Pennsylvania. The ACLU, which filed the challenge, is arguing that the measure is unconstitutional and violates the “the equal protection and due process clauses that protect against discrimination and infringement on liberties.”
The Corbett’s administration is also fighting a separate legal battle to stop a Montgomery County clerk from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.
Last year, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) spent $2.3 million in taxpayer money to unsuccessfully defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional in June. - Think Progress, 9/6/13
So Corbett won't spend taxpayer dollars to properly fund Pennsylvania's public school system but he will spend taxpayer money to defend a bigoted and outdated law that the majority of Pennsylvanians disapprove of or don't care about that much. It's really no wonder this clown is doomed to be a one term Governor:D. Bruce Hanes, the Montgomery County Register of Wills, has issued at least 150 same-sex marriage licenses since July 24, stating that the state’s DOMA law is unconstitutional.
“Pennsylvania’s DOMA statute is arbitrary and suspect, and is very similar to the statute which was struck down [by the U.S. Supreme Court],” Hanes said.
The administration sparked outrage last week, when state attorneys compared same-sex couples to 12-year-old children.
“Had the clerk issued marriage licenses to 12-year-olds in violation of state law, would anyone seriously contend that each 12-year-old ... is entitled to a hearing on the validity of his ‘license’?” state attorneys wrote, according to Philly.com. - Opposing Views, 9/6/13
Luckily of Pennsylvania, the Democrats have serious candidates with serious plans to properly use taxpayer's money. Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz (D. PA-13) (a long time supporter of marriage equality), the frontrunner in the primary, has a good plan to generate revenue:With his popularity about the same as a hairy wart, Gov. Tom Corbett (R-Pa.) had to make some critical changes in his administration if he has any hope of winning a second term in 2014.
There are many things he could have done.
He could have increased funding to education. Shortly after he took office, he slashed educational funding, including half the budget of the 14 state-owned universities. But he decided education wasn’t all that important.
He could have restored some of the budget to child care services, programs for the disabled, and the state parks and forests. But, he didn’t do that.
Tom Corbett could have made his statement for austerity by reducing his out-of-state travel, which included trips to Chile, Brazil, France, and Germany. But, he didn’t do that either.
He didn’t have to buy a $265,000 vacation condo in Hilton Head, South Carolina. That got him a double dose of stupid. First, he has been taking the media on state-sponsored trips all over Pennsylvania to show how great a state it is, and what a wonderful place it is to vacation. And then, as if buying a vacation home in South Carolina while governor wasn’t bad enough, he just happened to forget to include that in his annual Code of Conduct statement. That Code, begun under the governorship of Dick Thornburgh, requires all members of the executive branch to disclose all real estate holdings, with the exception of the primary residence.
Not long after becoming governor, he announced he wanted to privatize just about everything—the turnpike, liquor stores, and even the lottery, leading the people to wonder why he became governor if his wish was to eliminate government. Alas, he found that he couldn’t even convince his own Republican legislature to follow his path. As for the lottery, a Franklin & Marshall poll revealed that only 18 percent of the voters thought the lottery should be run by a private company, especially the foreign-owned company he had hand-picked.
He could have saved the state at least $500,000 if he didn’t sue the NCAA to overturn the sanctions against Penn State. He may have believed that since he was on the Penn State board of trustees he had standing to sue. Alas, the former attorney general—under whose watch the crimes were committed, but Jerry Sandusky wasn’t arrested—probably just had a slight “mental lapse.” Penn State, in spite of its name, is not a Pennsylvania state-owned university, but a private university. Nevertheless, Corbett’s attempt to placate outraged PennState fans, most of whom seemed to throw scorn his way for how he failed to prosecute Sandusky and who manipulated the firing of Joe Paterno, became nothing less than an embarrassment when a federal court threw out his suit even before it got to the discovery phase. In doing so, Corbett single-handedly made the NCAA look like a sympathetic figure. - The Moderate Voice, 9/6/13
Keystone Progress, which has been critical of Schwartz in the past, has praised Schwartz's gas tax plan and provided a breakdown:Presumed Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Allyson Schwartz proposed a “transformative” 5 percent shale extraction tax Wednesday that she said would pay for Pennsylvania's pressing transportation infrastructure needs and fund improvements in public education.
The proposal, which would be a complete about face to incumbent Republican Gov. Tom Corbett's impact fee without extraction tax policy, would generate an additional $612 million in its first year, rising to more than $1 billion by 2016, and $2 billion by 2022, Schwartz said.
That infusion of new revenue would prevent the need for hikes in property taxes, she argued.
Schwartz unveiled the proposal, the first in a series of planned campaign policy statements, in a teleconference with commonwealth reporters in which she lambasted Corbett for failing to effectively draw upon the state's energy resource to pay for state needs.
“I've been all over Pennsylvania and I hear consistently the failure of the governor to get even the basic funding for transportation, roads, bridges and highways,” said the Montgomery County congresswoman.
“The shale gas is a wealth that belongs to all Pennsylvanians and we all should be able to use that wealth,” she added. - The Patriot-News, 9/4/13
If you would like to learn more, donate or get involved with Schwartz's campaign, you can do so here:As Schwartz notes, a 5% severance tax would be in the middle of the pack for gas-drilling states. It is less than the severance tax rates in Texas (7.5%) and Oklahoma (7%), and the same as West Virginia’s rate.
So this would not in any way push drillers out of Pennsylvania. It would simply collect the same rate on gas production as many other states – perfectly reasonable for “the Saudi Arabia of natural gas” to use Tom Corbett’s phrase.
On the conference call announcing the position, Schwartz admirably rejected savvy political reporters’ insistence that the severance tax won’t pass, or that Republicans will get any political traction by pointing at the plan to characterize her as a “tax and spend liberal.”
She replied that she would contrast her position with Senator Scarnati and the Republicans’ position that we should raise taxes on middle class Pennsylvanians, rather than gas companies, to pay for our state services. Congresswoman Schwartz welcomed a debate between those who want to protect energy companies’ taxes from going up, and those who want to protect middle class families from tax increases to pay for education and other priorities. - Keystone Progress, 9/4/13