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The Kane recusal: Much ado about?

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Saturday, July 13, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

There's so much fur flying over Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane's decision to not defend the state's law against same-sex marriage that you'd think the furries were back in town.

Mrs. Kane, a Democrat, announced Thursday that she could not in good conscience defend a law, now being challenged in federal court by the ACLU, that she believes, as we do, is unconstitutionally discriminatory. She's being blasted in a number of quarters.

Some argue that Kane is abandoning her sworn duty to defend the constitutionality of commonwealth laws. But state law is clear that the AG can allow lawyers for the governor's office or other executive branch agencies to defend such lawsuits if, among other things, it's in the state's best interests.

If Kane is sincere in the exercise of the courage of her convictions, then recusing herself is in the state's best interests. Would supporters of the law rather have ineffectual counsel?

Of course, others question Kane's sincerity and ascribe political motivations to her decision. After all, she's a Democrat and she's placing the onus of defending a contentious law on a Republican administration as a gubernatorial campaign unfolds. Perhaps she's planning to run against Mr. Corbett next year. Perhaps it's a plot to cast the GOP as homophobes. Really?

No matter what Kathleen Kane's motivations are — and time and actions will reveal if they are anything other than what she's stated — Pennsylvania's version of the Defense of Marriage Act will be defended in court. For better or for ill.

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