Corbett's Gay Marriage-Incest Analogy Draws Strong Reaction

Corbett's Gay Marriage-Incest Analogy Draws Strong Reaction

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    Republican Gov. Tom Corbett issues a video statement after comparing the marriage of same-sex couples to the marriage of a brother and sister during an appearance on a Friday morning TV news show.
PHILADELPHIA -

Pennsylvania's governor is under fire for comparing gay marriage to incest.

Gov. Tom Corbett has once again pushed himself into the national debate over gay marriage with comments he'd clearly like to take back.

By mid-day, the first-term Republican was offering apologies for comparing gay marriage to incest.

The debate has flared here after a Montgomery County official started issuing marriage licenses to before being stopped by a judge.

Pennsylvania is the only state in the Northeast that does not allow gay marriages or civil unions.

Corbett opposes same-sex marriage but has stumbled badly in voicing his opposition.

Friday's controversial remarks came during an interview for a morning television news show in Harrisburg.

The governor was being questioned about one of his lawyers, in a legal filing, comparing gay marriage to 12-year-olds getting married.

"It was an inappropriate analogy. You know, I think a much better analogy would have been brother and sister, don't you?" Corbett says in the video.

"I don't know," answers the interviewer with a nervous laugh. "I don't know."

Corbett appears to smile awkwardly while the stunned reporter moves on.

The governor's aggressive attempts to walk those comments back included a written statement and then a video statement later in the day.

Corbett later issued both a written statement and a video, explaining that he was trying to give an example from the state statute that delineates categories of individuals unable to obtain a marriage license.

"The comments I've made have been viewed by some as insensitive and, if they've been taken that way, let me apologize right now. They were never meant to be insensitive to this issue," Corbett said in the video.

He went on to admit, quite candidly, in the 1:33 that he thinks with his "legal head" all the time as a lawyer, and that being a politician is "second nature."

State Rep. Brain Sims said of the governor's remarks, "What kind of problem do we have when, essentially, the head elected official in a state is so out of touch with his own state's constituents."

Sims, a Democrat from Philadelphia, is openly gay. He proposed new gay marriage legislation just Thursday.

He called the governor's words "bone-headed."

More reaction came from some of the Democrats who plan to try and unseat Corbett in the next election.

Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz‏ tweeted Friday morning, "Gov Corbett should apologize for his hateful rhetoric & offensive comments. PA deserves a Gov who respects our diversity & equality. #PAGov."

A short time later, Schwartz's campaign was using the remarks in a fund-raising link on a campaign website.

The Governor's poll numbers have already been weakening. Just 17 percent think he's doing a good job, 20 percent believe he deserves re-election, and 62 percent say the Keystone State is on the wrong track, according to one recent snapshot.

There was also chatter in Washington, where Corbett's name was trending on social media before noon Friday.

The Human Rights Campaign, an organization working to achieve equality for LGBT Americans, issued a statement that read in part, "Corbett's extremist views are inaccurate, dangerous, and gravely insulting to committed and loving gay and lesbian couples."

FOX 29 viewers have also been responding to the governor's remarks on Facebook. Many of you are strongly against his comments. Read the reaction for yourself by clicking here.

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