(CNN) — Going against his personal views, Pennsylvania’s governor won’t challenge a federal judge’s ruling striking his state’s same-sex marriage ban, paving the way for gay and lesbian couples to marry there.
Gov. Tom Corbett announced his decision in a statement Wednesday, a day after U.S. District Judge John E. Jones became the latest federal judge to declare a state’s restriction of marriage to one man and one woman to be unconstitutional. Pennsylvania officials will “follow … the provisions of Judge Jones’ order with respect for all parties,” the governor said.
State Attorney General Kathleen Kane has also announced that she will not defend Pennsylvania’s same-sex marriage ban because of what she believes is “the unconstitutionality of this law.”
That means that while other entities could file appeals of their own, they are unlikely to have legal standing and therefore affect what happens in Pennsylvania.
Corbett — a Republican who just won his party’s primary in pursuit of a re-election bid and, as he points out, a Roman Catholic — said in his statement Wednesday that he still personally believes “that marriage is between one man and one woman.” His decision not to stand by that belief in court comes after “a judgment as to the likelihood of a successful appeal.”
“Given the high legal threshold set forth by Judge Jones in this case, the case is extremely unlikely to succeed on appeal,” Corbett said. “Therefore, after review of the opinion and on the advice of my Commonwealth legal team, I have decided not appeal.”