Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, compared gay marriage to incest this morning during a local news show appearance.
Corbett is a former federal prosecutor, and governor of the only state in the Northeast without legal gay marriage. Speaking on a Harrisburg-based network’s morning news show, he addressed a recent court filing in which he insultingly compared same-sex marriages to children due to their legal status in the state.
When asked by a WHP-TV anchor about the controversial analogy, Gov. Corbett backed up and stepped in it again — this time attempting to salve the resultant ire with a reassurance that the marriages of legal, homosexual adults were not like those of children, but more like an incestuous pairing.
Corbett first admitted that his initial court filing analogy was not reasonable, but he rapidly showed that it wasn’t because the comparison made seemed wrong to him — he clarifies:
“It was an inappropriate analogy, you know… I think a much better analogy would have been brother and sister, don’t you?”
A lawyer for the plaintiffs in the case to which Corbett was responding on television addressed the ongoing controversy. Mark Aronchick, who is representing the other side, called the comments “insensitive, insulting and plainly wrong.” He added:
“In other words, some kind of incestuous relationship. He’s just out of touch on this one. Gay people marry for the same reasons straight people do — to express their love and to declare their commitment before friends and family.”
Corbett’s gay marriage remarks were taped on Monday, and after they aired Friday, the Pennsylvania governor clarified that his “words were not intended to offend anyone,” adding the “sorry if you were offended” quasi-apology to his update.
He says “respect and compassion [should be] shown to all sides” of the gay marriage debate,” and commented further:
“I explained that current Pennsylvania statute delineates categories of individuals unable to obtain a marriage license… As an example, I cited siblings as one such category, which is clearly defined in state law. My intent was to provide an example of these categories.”
Gov. Tom Corbett’s comparison of gay marriage to incest has been called “shocking and hurtful” by advocates of marriage equality.