Pennsylvania: Pastor arrested for protesting attorney general’s refusal to defend equal marriage ban
A pastor in the US state of Pennsylvania has been arrested for refusing to leave a state building, in protest against the attorney general’s announcement that she would not defend the state’s equal marriage ban.
The ACLU and the Philadelphia law firm Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin and Schiller, filed the complaint earlier this week in the US District Court, in an effort to have the state’s Defense of Marriage Act deemed unconstitutional.
Pastor Bill Devlin refused to leave Capitol Police at the Strawberry Square building, where Kane’s office is based. He laid down in an elevator with the door open, and refused to leave, said Department of General Services spokeswoman Holly Lubart.
She said: “The police asked him to get up, he did not, so they handcuffed him and they carried him out of the building.”
Devlin was charged with disorderly conduct and will face a fine of between $50 and $300 (£33 and £200), Lubart added.
He said he had been moved to travel to Harrisburg in order to pray that “God would soften [the attorney general’s] heart”, on her announcement.
“I decided at about 6:30 this morning after hearing of the [Attorney] General’s decision not to uphold Pennsylvania law, I said, ‘Someone’s gotta uphold Pennsylvania law,’ so I went out to pray for her, and obviously I crossed the line and was arrested,” Devlin said, according to Philly.com.
The lawsuit by the ALCU names Kane, as well as Republican Governor Tom Corbett, in its attempt to have the amendment deemed constitutional.
Kane, who is in favour of same-sex marriage said she would leave the defending of the equal marriage ban to Corbett, who opposes equal marriage.
According to state law, it is the attorney general’s responsibility to defend the constitutionality of state laws, however she is also allowed to allow the governor’s office or executive branch agencies to defend a lawsuit if it is in the state’s best interest, or if it is more efficient.
The governor’s office did not comment on the lawsuit.
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