Gov. decision only following laws of state

More than a week has passed since U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III’s May 20 ruling prohibiting further enforcement of Pennsylvania’s same-sex marriage ban.

With Gov. Tom Corbett’s sensible decision the next day not to appeal the judge’s ruling because of the unlikelihood that the appeal would be successful, the glaring spotlight on the issue is fading, with other issues taking center stage.

As should be the case, all considered, same-sex couples’ filing of marriage applications at their county courthouses will soon attract no more public attention than a license being sought by a man and woman.

Same-sex couples deserve the same respect as what traditionally has been accorded others, and in Blair and other surrounding county courthouses, it is evident that that attitude already is implanted.

That need not suggest that individuals’ personal and religious beliefs regarding homosexuality and same-sex marriage must give way to Jones’ interpretation that marriage laws banning recognition of same-sex marriage violate the principles of equal protection.

Corbett said as much when, as part of his decision not to appeal the judge’s ruling, he issued a statement that “as a Roman Catholic, the traditional teaching of my faith has not wavered. I continue to maintain the belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.”

But Corbett properly reminded people of this state that his gubernatorial duties require him to follow laws as interpreted by the courts and make a judgment as to the likelihood of a successful appeal.

He said it was unlikely that Jones’ ruling – that the fundamental right to marriage is a personal right to be exercised by the individual – would be overturned.

Essentially, pursuit of an appeal would have wasted state resources challenging the changed mood of the nation on what nevertheless will remain a matter of some disagreement.

Jones rejected the argument “that concepts of history and tradition dictate that same-sex marriage is excluded from the fundamental right to marry.”

Times and attitudes change, but people maintain their right to respectfully oppose that thinking – the way they hopefully will in this instance.

Everyone has a conscience, and each individual’s conscience will dictate his or her thinking as to whether same-sex marriage is right or wrong.

Beyond that, it is important that individuals recognize the unlikelihood of changing others’ deepest-held beliefs and acknowledge others’ freedom as people of this land to maintain their own beliefs even if they conflict with traditional religious teachings.

It would seem more logical if those who believe in a supreme being would embrace the thinking that that greater power will eventually judge each person’s life on many factors, and what good each person has done while living on earth.

By its nature, same-sex marriage is an issue that will never evoke 100 percent concurrence. However, Pennsylvania’s attention now can focus on things more relevant to most residents of this state, as married same-sex couples enjoy the freedoms, legal protections, tax benefits and social statuses available to others.

More good has the opportunity to come forth from Jones’ ruling than had the unsettled – and in many ways disrespected – lives that existed prior to May 20 been forced to live with the constraints that unfairly had burdened them.