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Gay marriage issue entangles Pa. Gov. Tom Corbett

Defending a divisive gay marriage ban is probably not the fight Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett would have chosen 15 months ahead of an election he’s widely expected to lose. A majority of Pennsylvanians now support same-sex marriage, a dramatic shift from just a few years ago.

But the issue has been thrust in the first-term Republican’s lap — and the politics may not be all bad for him.

Corbett’s decision to stand by the state’s 1996 ban will help shore up his shaky support among Republicans and all but eliminates the possibility of a primary challenge from the right, strategists said.

But the conflict between Corbett and Kathleen Kane, Pennsylvania’s attorney general, also prolongs a conversation about an increasingly unpopular law when the governor is struggling to pick up every vote he can. A June poll out of Quinnipiac University said that Corbett, who is in his first term, has a dismal 30% favorability rating among Pennsylvania voters.

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