Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett: Gay marriage is like marriage of siblings

HARRISBURG, Pa. - (CNN) -- Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett's stance on same-sex marriage is no secret, after bringing a legal challenge against a county clerk who tried to sign marriage licenses for same-sex couples. Friday, Corbett went a step further, comparing gay marriage to a union between siblings.

In an interview with CNN affiliate WHP-TV, Corbett was answering a question about comments made by a member of his legal team who had compared same-sex marriage to the marriage of 12 year-olds, with both unions being illegal.

Corbett, a Republican, said that "It was an inappropriate analogy. I think a much better analogy would have been brother and sister, don't you?"

The national gay and lesbian group Human Rights Campaign was quick to condemn Corbett's comment. "Corbett's extremist views are inaccurate, dangerous, and gravely insulting to committed and loving gay and lesbian couples," the HRC said in a statement.

When asked for further comment, Corbett's office released a statement from the governor: "My words were not intended to offend anyone. If they did, I apologize," Corbett said in the statement.

"I explained that current Pennsylvania statute delineates categories of individuals unable to obtain a marriage license. 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."

Pennsylvania is currently fighting a lawsuit in federal court aimed at overturning the state's same-sex marriage ban. The lawsuit was brought after the June Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage, one of which overturned a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Last month in a separate case, a Pennsylvania judge ordered a suburban Philadelphia county clerk to comply with the state's 1996 same-sex marriage ban and stop issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. D. Bruce Hanes, the elected Montgomery County register of wills, had been giving out marriage licenses since July, recognizing the weddings of nearly 200 same-sex couples.

The lawsuit to stop Hanes was brought by the state Department of Health, which said he is in "direct defiance" of the ban and "risks causing serious and limitless harm to the public."

--CNN's Bryan Koenig and Sara Ganim contributed to this report.

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