Daily Speed Read: News You Should Know May 22, 2014

By Lisa Keen

Keen News Service

PENNSYLVANIA IS FINAL; NO APPEAL: Republican Governor Tom Corbett announced Wednesday that his administration will not appeal a federal district court decision Tuesday that declared the state ban on same-sex couples marrying to be unconstitutional. Corbett had vowed in recent to defend the law, but he issued a statement May 21 saying an appeal would be Òextremely unlikely to succeed.Ó ÒI continue to maintain the belief that marriage is between one man and one woman,Ó said Corbett. ÒMy duties as Governor require that I follow the laws as interpreted by the Courts and make a judgment as to the likelihood of a successful appealÉ.The court has spoken, and I will ensure that my administration follows the provisions of Judge JonesÕ order with respect for all parties.Ó And with that, Pennsylvania, the sixth most populous state, becomes the 19th state plus the District of Columbia with marriage equality. The marriage equality states include 44 percent of the nationÕs population.

PENNSYLVANIA AUDITOR SPOKE UP: Even before the release of the court decision declaring PennsylvaniaÕs ban on same-sex couples marrying unconstitutional, the stateÕs chief fiscal officer urged the governor against an appeal. Auditor General Eugene DePasquale issued a press release May 8, saying it is Òunquestionably unfairÓ to make same-sex couples pay an estimated $1,600 more per year in state taxes because of the ban. And he said it was unwise for the state to pay as much as $400 an hour in legal fees to defend the ban against several lawsuits while the Pennsylvania budget is facing a $1 billion shortfall.

CORBETT COMPETITOR URGED NO APPEAL, TOO: Democratic businessman Tom Wolf urged Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett not to appeal the federal district court decision that the state ban on same-sex couples marrying is unconstitutional. Wolf, who won TuesdayÕs Democratic primary with 58 percent of the vote, said he agrees with the courtÕs decision.

SANTORUM RECOMMENDED JUDGE JONES: Anti-gay former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, a likely repeat candidate for president next year, recommended U.S. District Court Judge John Jones II for the position. President George W. Bush appointed Jones.

NJÕS CHRISTIE REAPPOINTS CHIEF JUSTICE: Lambda Legal and other legal groups had expressed concerns in recent months that New JerseyÕs Republican Governor Chris Christie might decline to reappoint the New Jersey Supreme CourtÕs Chief Justice Stuart Rabner. Rabner wrote a critical opinion supporting the declaration that the stateÕs ban on same-sex couples marrying to be unconstitutional. But on Wednesday, Christie announced that he will reappoint Rabner to the position and that, despite his disagreement with Rabner on some decisions, Òmy respect for him has never been diminished.Ó

WATCH WHITE HOUSE CEREMONY LIVE: The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power will be the featured speaker today at 3 p.m. EDT for a ceremony unveiling the U.S. postage stamp honoring Harvey Milk. The ceremony will be viewable live at the White House website. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator Tammy Baldwin, and Rep. John Lewis will be among the other speakers. Milk was a powerful political organizer of San FranciscoÕs LGBT community in the 1970s. And he was one of the first openly gay people to be elected to office, as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Milk and then San Francisco Mayor George Moscone were assassinated in 1978 by another supervisor who had voluntarily resigned his seat on the board and then became angry when Moscone would not let him re-take the position.

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