Thursday, February 11, 2016

The one where Corbett does the right thing

Gov. Corbett says he'll support gay rights legislation for Pennsylvania

The one where Corbett does the right thing

 Jason Brendel holds a rainbow flag, representing diversity and LGBT equality. (Rebecca Barger)
Jason Brendel holds a rainbow flag, representing diversity and LGBT equality. (Rebecca Barger)

Speaking of gay rights, there was an unexpected announcement from Gov. Corbett in Harrisburg today.

The embattled governor told reporters that he'd be willing to sign legislation that would ban discrimination based on someone's sexual orientation or gender identity, which would remove Pennsylvania from the list of just a small handful of Neanderthal states that don't currently offer such protections.

Speaking to reporters after a news conference, Corbett said he was surprised to learn recently that federal discrimination laws don't cover gay or transgendered Americans. “I had a presumption that it did," he said. "I believe it should, I don’t think there should be discrimination."

UPDATE: Corbett was actually responding to this scoop by the Inquirer's Amy Worden.

There's always things to quibble about. The idea that a lawyer who served not once but twice as Pennsylvania's attorney general didn't know about the lack of federal gay rights protections strikes me as stunning. And of course it's political -- this statement is a clear appeal to the types of suburban independant and moderate GOP voters who backed Corbett in 2010 but drifted away after he supported a right-wingTea Party agenda in office.

What's more, the real action on this issue is in the legislature, and so the governor's words will ring a bit hollow if he doesn't do more to rally his fellow Republicans, who control both houses.

But this is also a shining example of the truest political statement ever uttered: Good government is good politics. The moral authority of the governor and his views on this issue matter, just as it mattered when President Obama finally voiced support for same-sex marriage. This should have happened decades ago, but the important thing is that it happened. Corbett did something good.

His reward is at the top of the post -- no picture of "The Tinman," "Tom Corbett Space Cadet," or Leslie Nielsen. Just Gov. Corbett, backer of a Pennsylvania gay-rights bill.

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About this blog
Will Bunch, a senior writer at the Philadelphia Daily News, blogs about his obsessions, including national and local politics and world affairs, the media, pop music, the Philadelphia Phillies, soccer and other sports, not necessarily in that order.


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