Asst. News Editor
On Thursday Sept. 5 Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration announced that they have appointed a lawyer to defend Pennsylvania’s law banning same-sex marriage.
Corbett, who twice suggested substantial funding cuts for state universities like Millersville, hired attorney William H. Lamb of West Chester to defend the ban. Lamb, a former state Supreme Court justice, will represent Corbett for $400 an hour. Lamb’s associates will be paid $325 an hour.
The governor has not received the warmest reception among the Millersville University community, even as the commencement speaker for Millersville graduates this past May. In Corbett’s budget proposal he suggested a 20-30 percent cut in funding for state-owned and related colleges for the 2012-2013 academic year.
Millersville University faculty members and students have expressed frustration over education funds that have been cut from the state budget.
“It’s a waste of money,” said Millersville English professor Dr. Steven Miller, in regards to the amount of money being spent to defend the ban . “I just don’t understand. I think there’s got to be some resource within the governor’s office rather than hiring someone special to defend it.”
Dr. Miller suggested that Corbett wait until the issue comes before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and allow the state legal system to decide.
“I’m okay if he wants to pay $400 an hour out of his own salary,” said Dr. Miller. “But why spend my money for that?”
“It’s ridiculous how we’ve gotten so many cuts, especially because education should be the primary source for our country,” said Yanitza Francisco, a senior majoring in International Studies. “Our workforce depends on it. Anything that relates to cutting money towards education and putting it towards something else is ridiculous.”
Karan Rao, a freshman studying History Secondary Education, criticized the amount of money Corbett is using for this lawsuit.
“That’s way too much money to be spending on a lawyer,” said Rao. “The fact that he’s cutting spending for the university, it’s terrible. It’s even more terrible that he’s cutting funds for schools like Millersville to pay a lawyer to support the ban on same-sex marriage.”
The announcement by Corbett’s administration comes more than a month after the first marriage licenses for same-sex couples in Pennsylvania were issued in Montgomery County.
On July 24 D. Bruce Hanes, the register of wills in Montgomery County, issued the marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in June. Section 3 of DOMA states that “the word ‘marriage’ means only the legal union of a man and a woman as husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.”
Corbett’s legal team released a statement in court papers saying same-sex marriage licenses issued in Pennsylvania have no “value or legitimacy”. They compared gay couples getting married to children getting married. Both would be considered illegal in Pennsylvania due to the state’s law which defines marriage as between one man and one woman, according to ABC News associate WPVI-TV in Philadelphia.
“I personally think love is for everyone. If people are happy–two men of the same-sex or two women–so be it. It’s not hurting anyone,” said Francisco.