A Montgomery County pastor was arrested Friday in Harrisburg after he knelt and prayed for state Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who supports gay marriage, and then attempted to board an elevator to her office.
"This is the first of many arrests," Pastor Bill Devlin, cochair of a group called Right to Worship and who lives in Lower Moreland, said in an interview after his arrest. "We're going to have many pastors out here."
Kane said Thursday that she could not ethically defend the state against a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage. Devlin said Kane had a duty to enforce state law.
Holly Lubart, a spokesperson for the Department of General Services, which oversees the Capitol Police, confirmed that Devlin had been arrested. She said he failed to sign in at the building entrance and went past an officer before getting onto an elevator.
"They did have to carry him out of the building," she said. Devlin was cited for disorderly conduct.
Kane spokesman Joe Peters said he had no comment on the arrest beyond noting that, "certainly, the attorney general supports the free expression of religion and all liberties."
Devlin said he went to the ground floor of the Strawberry Square building that houses the attorney general's office and told security officers that he was there to pray for Kane, he wanted to schedule a meeting with her, and he represented clergy across Pennsylvania.
Officers called the 16th floor, and a representative of the Attorney's General Office came to meet Devlin. After discussions, Devlin said, he was told he could not see Kane.
"I said, 'I'm here to pray,' " Devlin said. "I know you're not going to give me permission, but I'm going to pray in front of the elevator.' "
As he knelt, the elevator doors opened, and he crawled inside, Devlin said. Police stopped the doors from closing and arrested him, he said.
Devlin later sent out a statement saying: "Pray for her, as I am, that she will have a change of heart and that God would melt her heart and she would say that marriage is between a man and a woman."
Contact Jeff Gammage at 215-854-4906 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow on Twitter @JeffGammage.