Sunday, April 20, 2014
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Corbett seeks removal from same-sex marriage lawsuit

FILE: Gov. Corbett (right) and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey greeted Kathleen Kane before she took her oath of office as state attorney general last year. Kane and Corbett asked to be dismissed from a lawsuit filed by 28 same-sex couples. MATT ROURKE / Associated Press / File
FILE: Gov. Corbett (right) and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey greeted Kathleen Kane before she took her oath of office as state attorney general last year. Kane and Corbett asked to be dismissed from a lawsuit filed by 28 same-sex couples. MATT ROURKE / Associated Press / File

NORRISTOWN -- Gov. Corbett and Attorney General Kathleen Kane have asked to be dismissed from a lawsuit filed in September by 28 same-sex couples who seek to have their marriages recognized.

Kane had filed a petition with Commonwealth Court on Dec. 13 asking to be removed because she was "an unnecessary party." The plaintiffs agreed.

But Corbett and Secretary of Health Michael Wolf, the two other named defendants in the case, filed a response Monday arguing that Kane should not be removed unless Corbett is removed as well.

Corbett and Wolf argue that Wolf is the proper defendant, and that he "represents the same executive interests" as the governor.

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  • "The governor as a matter of law is no more necessary to this action than is the attorney general," their response states. Kane "should not be dismissed as a respondent in this matter unless the governor also is dismissed."

    The plaintiffs received licenses to marry from Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes before a Commonwealth Court judge in September ordered Hanes to stop issuing the licenses. But the judge's ruling did not address whether the licenses already issued were valid.

    Several couples, led by Sasha Ballen and Diana Spagnuolo of Wynnewood, filed the suit to determine whether they are legally married.

    Another lawsuit in federal court seeks to overturn the state law banning same-sex marriage.

    - Jessica Parks

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