Half a good move: Corbett demonstrates some fairness on gays

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Call it half a loaf. Applaud it with one hand clapping. But be fair and call it progress. For it is welcome that Republican Gov. Tom Corbett has announced his support for two bills with bipartisan support that would ban employment and housing discrimination against gays and lesbians in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Corbett explained his change of heart as a misunderstanding. He mistakenly thought federal law already covered discrimination based on sexual orientation, but now he recognizes that House Bill 300 and Senate Bill 300 are needed. So do many lawmakers — the House plan has 93 co-sponsors, the Senate plan 25.

Unfortunately, Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry, refuses to advance the bill in his committee, imagining that it would discriminate against Christians. This is prejudice dressed up in the robes of piety — with no care that discrimination against gay people of any faith is allowed to flourish.

But at least the governor has signaled that he opposes discrimination and is on the side of fairness. Only one problem. His administration is in federal court defending the state’s Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman. The plaintiffs argue the law unconstitutionally deprives them of rights available to others — and it does.

The logic of the governor’s two positions cannot be reconciled.

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