In trying to put out a small fire in the ongoing debate over same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Corbett doused it with gasoline.
Corbett is getting blasted well beyond the Keystone State's borders for comments he made in an interview on WHP-TV that aired Friday morning.
While distancing himself from language used in a brief by his legal team this summer that compared gay marriage to 12-year-olds getting married, Corbett jumped from the fire to the frying pan.
“It was an inappropriate analogy, you know?” Corbett said. But then he added, “I think a much better analogy would have been brother and sister. Don't you?”
A clearly flustered interviewer was speechless. Midstaters we showed the clip to were not.
“It's not appropriate at all,” said Gloria Hairston of Harrisburg. “It's just despicable.”
Judy Marcus and friend Rick Rubin both called it inappropriate. Judy added, “It's not that you're a child, or kids. These people are adults and love each other.”
“To me it's crazy to make an analogy like that,” said Todd Walters of Shermans Dale.
The governor's staff worked hard to explain what Corbett meant. A spokesman said that under Pennsylvania law, brothers and sisters cannot get marriage licenses and neither can same-sex couples, that's the connection the governor was trying to make.
Friday afternoon they issued a video feed with Corbett's mea culpa.
“There was no intention to upset anybody,” a contrite looking Corbett said. “There was the intention to explain the barriers in law and make an analogy. I apologize for that to anyone who may have been offended.”
In the video release, Corbett said he is more lawyer than politician and he was thinking with his “legal head.”
“I think he should have quit while he was ahead,” said Linda Mull of New Cumberland. “I understand it's a hot button issue, but I think if a man and a man want to get married I don't think there's any reason they shouldn't be allowed to.”
Nearly every Democrat running for governor pounced and issued statements denouncing Corbett's comments.
With the vote for governor now 13 months away, Corbett's comments could be yet another blow to his reelection effort.