My New Hero, Kathleen Kane aka Destroyer of Democracy

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This story hits very close to home for me so please excuse any thoroughly subjective hyper-emotional theatrics that might bleed into my narrative.  I promise not to do it often.

Here’s the thing:  I have been watching certain recent legislative events unfold in my home state, Pennsylvania, with a certain amount of awe.  Things don’t ordinarily happen quickly in Pennsylvania so my hangover from last month’s DOMA Doom party had barely cleared before I realized—Hey! maybe this means that Pennsylvania’s own state law banning gay marriage is equally unconstitutional.

Lo and behold, the same thought occurred, simultaneously to the ACLU, 23 citizens of the Keystone State and Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, Kathleen Kane.

The ACLU and 23 citizens have filed a federal district court suit challenging Pennsylvania’s 1996 statute defining marriage as between “one man and one woman” and banning recognition of same-sex marriages from other states. And AG Kane has refused to serve as the state’s defense in a brief public statement citing the following reasons:

Today, the attorney general chooses to protect all those without high-priced lawyers, all those who suffer discrimination and inequality, those thousands of families who have been denied of the dignity and respect that the constitution protects and guarantees in marriage equality.  Today we represent everyone who does not have representation.

Kane, a Democrat who supports same-sex marriage, said the state and U.S. Constitution each stress equal protection under the law.

It is our duty, each and every one of us ... to protect the equality of all men and women in this commonwealth.

So, basically, Gov. Tom Corbett (R) is on his own to stand up for inequality in Pennsylvania.

Unless you live in or near Pennsylvania you’ve probably never heard of Kathleen Kane, nevertheless, her election as Attorney General was something of an historic event in these parts.  See, Kathleen Kane is the first woman and first Democrat ever elected to her position.  And she did not squeak in, she beat her GOP opponent, David Freed, by double digits collecting more than three million votes, outperforming every man on the ticket, including President Obama and the state’s incumbent Democratic senator, Bob Casey.

Since taking over that position, Kathleen Kane has made Gov. Tom Corbett’s (R) life a living hell, for which we will be forever in her debt.  Corbett is just an awful governor with the approval ratings to go with his performance.  I warned that I might indulge in some theatrics here but the foregoing is just straight-up fact.  Corbett not only stinks up Pennsylvania, but in March, a Quinnipiac poll found him the least re-electable of all sitting state governors.  And that’s saying something, given the field.

Defending an unconstitutional state law is probably not going to prove a plus for a Corbett 2014 re-election bid. Nevertheless, Republicans, being what they are, have taken out a contract on Kathleen Kane accusing her of “destroying democracy by refusing to defend a same-sex marriage ban.”

Two dozen Republican legislators wrote to Attorney General Kane, in a joint letter, indulging in some “hyper-emotional theatrics” of their own:

When executive branch officials refuse to defend Commonwealth law despite the clear duties imposed by both the Pennsylvanian Constitution and controlling statutes, the fundamental nature of the American experiment in representative democracy is called into question.

Citing James Madison’s Federalist Papers, sprinkling in some Latin quotes [to prove they know a thing or two] and imparting some patronizing, avuncular advice, the GOP signatories get serious with this:

Your announcement, and its implied arrogation of both executive AND legislative authority at the expense of the people, troubles us deeply.  There are any number of Pennsylvania statutes with which we may personally disagree.  Nevertheless, we do not ignore them to suit our political preference.

Well, let’s think about that, my fellow Pennsylvanians . . . “implied arrogation of executive AND legislative authority” by that they mean that Kane has usurped their power to legislate, although she’s not attempting to write or change any laws, she’s simply declining to defend a standing law that she deems unconstitutional on both a state and federal level as per their “equal protection” clauses.

In regard to her arrogating executive power? who knows what they mean?  Corbett was an AG, he’s perfectly capable of defending the state if he wants to.  The final charge in that excerpt is that Kane is “ignoring” a law she doesn’t like.  Far from it, guys, she’s shining a big fat klieg light on it and getting national attention for Pennsylvania’s attachment to unconstitutional statutes.

You can be sure that these guys know that they’re pissing in the wind.  Kane is only following in AG Holder’s footsteps in refusing to defend DOMA, and, if Pennsylvania’s GOP legislators are all that exercised, they are free to do what Republicans in the US House did—pony up their own cash to hire outside counsel.

Meanwhile, while Corbett and his gang are making reservations on the SS Wrong Side of History, I’d like to extend a standing invitation to AG Kane to attend the wedding of me and my partner of 26 years, whenever the Pennsylvania legislature sees fit to provide “equal protection under the law” to their constituents.  We’ll even come to Harrisburg. 

In the meantime, here’s a picture that my five year old grand-daughter drew, when she was four, entitled My Grammie’s Wedding, to give you an idea what that’ll be like.  We’ve promised her that she can be a flower girl and she’s really, totally adorable.  Here’s hoping we’re able to get married before she does.

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Posted by Bette Noir on 07/12/13 at 10:18 AM • Permalink

Categories: LGBTPoliticsBedwetters

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Wow, she’s my hero too!  I wish Colorado would get on the stick and get our same sex marriage prohibition declared unconstitutional.  Of course our Republican jerk of an AG would most likely defend it to the death.

Love the picture!  Maybe you can make it into t-shirts for all your wedding guests!

Agreed, Marindenver; I’m not terribly found of our AG. Maybe he can join up with the secessionists in the NE corner of our great rhomboid state. 

Bette, you’re upcoming wedding (and it WILL come) should have a blue theme, and this painting on the invites!

Also, why did AG Kane so thoroughly spank her rethug opponent at the polls?  I’m betting the guy was obviously a loon, and so obviously so that people just couldn’t vote straight ticket.

SoS, actually, Freed is kind of a run-of-the mill Republican in this neck of the woods (no, I guess that doesn’t preclude being a loon…) but there were two things I think that counted against him—his campaign tried to make Kane look “soft” on rapists which backfired when the father of one of the victims in a case she prosecuted stuck up for her—and then there’s our Gov, Tom Corbett, space cadet. I think she benefited from an anti-Corbett backlash. He backed Freed, natch.

The final charge in that excerpt is that Kane is “ignoring” a law she doesn’t like.  Far from it, guys, she’s shining a big fat klieg light on it and getting national attention for Pennsylvania’s attachment to unconstitutional statutes.

Well put, their policies don’t withstand even a modicum of scrutiny.

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