Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who supports gay marriage, announced this week that she would not defend the state’s traditional marriage law in court. On Friday morning a Pennsylvania pastor, Bill Devlin—who also has been at the center of protesting New York City’s rule against churches renting public schools for worship services—arrived at Kane’s office building in Harrisburg to try to meet with her and pray about her decision.
Devlin prayed outside the elevator to Kane’s office, and then tried to enter the elevator, at which point Harrisburg Capitol Police arrested him. Devlin said the police treated him kindly and professionally in the arrest.
“General Kane: We are praying that you will have a change of heart and will follow the oath of office you recently took to uphold the Laws of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” Devlin said in a statement from Capitol Police jail. “I am the first of many clergy members who will be coming to your office to pray for you. We hope that God will soften your heart to recognize marriage as between a man and a woman—and that you would uphold the law you swore to uphold.”
California’s attorneys general also declined to defend their state’s voter-approved constitutional amendment on marriage, Proposition 8, in court. Voters attempted to take up the amendment’s defense but the Supreme Court ruled in June that they had no standing to defend it. That decision likely emboldened state officials like Kane to refuse to defend marriage laws in their states.