OSTERBURG - Addressing a crowd of Bedford County business figures Thursday, state Sen. John H. Eichelberger Jr., R-Blair, said he endorses impeaching Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane for her refusal to defend the state's ban on gay marriage.
Asked at a legislative panel whether he supports impeachment proceedings, Eichelberger said simply, "I do," drawing laughter from the audience. He joins state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler, who last week called for Kane's dismissal.
Kane, named as a defendant in an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against the ban, said she considers the state's defense of marriage law unconstitutional and will refuse to defend it in court. Gov. Tom Corbett has said the office will defend the law in her place.
"She's the most political attorney general in the history of the state," Eichelberger said. "We have a law that says marriage is between a man and a woman. Period."
Kane's opponents have accused her of selectively defending laws despite a constitutional mandate to do so.
Acknowledging that a successful impeachment of Kane would be impossible in the General Assembly, Eichelberger offered an alternative: reducing Kane's office funding in next year's budget.
"If she doesn't do her job, I think she doesn't need her whole budget," he said. "We should really teach her a lesson with her pocketbook."
At the Thursday gathering, Eichelberger and state Rep. Carl Metzgar, R-Somerset, criticized other officials circumventing the law, including a Montgomery County register of wills who has issued marriage licenses to gay couples and state Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Delaware, who recently officiated a gay wedding ceremony.
"We have a constitutional crisis because of this," Metzgar said.
Eichelberger agreed, noting that many in Harrisburg agree with the impeachment proposal.
"It's a lawless state," he said.
Mirror Staff Writer Ryan Brown is at 946-7457.