Auditor: Pa. wasting money on same-sex marriage fight

Pennsylvania’s fiscal watchdog is questioning the use of tax dollars on the legal fight against same-sex marriage at a time when the state’s budget deficit is growing.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said cutting out the millions of dollars in outside legal expenses won’t solve an estimated $1 billion budget shortfall, but he said it would be a step in the right direction.

“We cannot afford to pay $300-400 per hour to fight for an unfair law that denies recognition of, and penalizes, legally married same-sex couples,” DePasquale said in a statement. “We can’t afford legal bills like this when the administration is looking at making additional budget cuts. We’ve already seen the financial devastation from previous education cuts.”

DePasquale, a Democrat, said in the past two years, Pennsylvania spent more than $10 million on outside law firms and legal counsel for the failed Lottery privatization effort, and nearly $1 million more to defend the Voter ID law that was ruled unconstitutional.

Arguments are expected to begin next week in a federal lawsuit that challenges the state’s refusal to recognize gay marriages from other states.

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