A PASTOR from Montgomery County found himself in handcuffs in Harrisburg yesterday morning after officials say he refused to leave a state office building, saying that he was there to pray for Attorney General Kathleen Kane to change her position on refusing to defend the state's ban on gay marriage.
Pastor Bill Devlin skirted Capitol Police at the Strawberry Square building where Kane's office is located, according to Holly Lubart, spokeswoman for the state Department of General Services, which oversees the police force there.
When officers confronted Devlin, he laid down in an elevator with the door open and refused to move.
"The police asked him to get up, he did not, so they handcuffed him and they carried him out of the building," Lubart said.
Devlin was charged with disorderly conduct and faces a fine of $50 to $300, she added.
The pastor said he was moved to travel to Harrisburg to pray that "God would soften [Kane's] heart" after the A.G. announced earlier this week that she would not defend Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage. The law is being challenged in a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of 23 state residents by the American Civil Liberties Union.
"I decided at about 6:30 this morning after hearing of the [Attorney] General's decision not to uphold Pennsylvania law, I said, 'Someone's gotta uphold Pennsylvania law,' so I went out to pray for her, and obviously I crossed the line and was arrested," Devlin said yesterday.
Devlin is a co-pastor at Infinity Church in Bronx, New York, but lives in Lower Moreland township. He grabbed headlines in 2012 when he went on a 42-day hunger strike to protest a church ban in New York City schools.
He called his prayer and demonstration "biblical obedience, not civil disobedience" and said he hopes other clergy members will follow in his footsteps.
He believes Kane has violated her oath of office by declining to defend a state law, he added.
"I actually applaud her for the courage of her convictions," he said. "And I hope she will applaud me for the courage of my convictions."