So, Did Corbett Compare Gay Couples to 12-Year-Olds or Not?

The latest Corbett gaffe? Or are Democrats trying to make political hay out of nothing? Let us recapitulate. First, as we noted yesterday, the state issued a legal brief arguing that Montgomery County’s issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples was the equivalent of letting children get married.

Had the Clerk issued marriage licenses to twelve-year-olds in violation of state law, would anyone seriously contend that each twelve-year-old has a legally enforceable ‘interest’ in his ‘license’ and is entitled to a hearing on the validity of his ‘license,’ else his due process rights be violated?”

Democrats and friends went on the offensive, suggesting that this was another “man-on-child” Santorum-style gay-bash.

Yesterday, in a legal brief filed to defend Pennsylvania’s discriminatory gay marriage law, Tom Corbett’s office, led by his top lawyer, compared LGBT adults who have acquired marriage licenses to 12 year old children. This is beyond unacceptable and shows that the contempt Tom Corbett has for LGBT Pennsylvanians permeates his entire administration.

Then, Corbett backtracked and apologized, saying his lawyers used an “inappropriate analogy.” Couple thoughts here. First, it’s not clear to me that Corbett’s people were trying to disparage gay couples. They were trying to make a case that this sort of marriage–legally speaking–should be treated like any other prohibited form of marriage. Second, however, there may be a flaw in that argument. As I’ve pointed out before, there’s nothing in state law that actually forbids handing out licenses to same-sex couples.

“The state enumerates who you cannot issue a license to,” says Montco County Commissioner Josh Shapiro. “Mother-son, father-daughter. Nowhere does it say that you can’t issue a license to a same-sex couple.” Shapiro’s right. Check out Statute 23 Pa. C.S.A. Section 1304 — “Restrictions on Issuance of Licenses.” Syphillis? Red flag. Gay couples? No mention.

Political correctness may not be the state’s biggest obstacle, in other words, when it comes to arguing the Montco case.