Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett is apologizing for comparing same-sex marriage to the marriage of a brother and sister during a Friday television interview, angering gay-rights groups.
The Republican was asked about a statement by state lawyers in a recent court filing that likened same-sex couples to 12-year-olds who wished to wed but couldn't under Pennsylvania law.
"It was an inappropriate analogy, you know," Corbett told the anchor on WHP-TV in Harrisburg.
"I think a much better analogy would have been brother and sister, don't you?" he added, with a smile.
His remarks drew swift condemnation, with Ted Martin of Equality Pennsylvania calling them "shocking and hurtful."
"As poll after poll continues to affirm that the majority of Pennsylvanians support allowing same-sex couples to share in the freedom to marry — Gov. Corbett’s comments aren’t simply offensive; they’re out of touch," Martin said in a statement.
"We urge Gov. Corbett to immediately apologize for his irresponsible remarks. And we invite him to participate in a conversation with same-sex couples to talk about why marriage matters to all Pennsylvania families.”
Hours after the interview aired, Corbett issued a written statement: "My words were not intended to offend anyone. If they did, I apologize."
He said he was just trying to explain the law.
"I explained that current Pennsylvania statute delineates categories of individuals unable to obtain a marriage license," his statement said.
"As an example, I cited siblings as one such category, which is clearly defined in state law. My intent was to provide an example of these categories.