Gay Marriage in Danger?
Gay marriage is on the minds of many LGBT citizens of Pennsylvania. As Delaware gets ready to sign civil unions into law and New York moves closer to legalizing same-sex marriage, Pennsylvania may be next on the list to address the issue. As more Americans than ever are voicing their support for marriage equality across the country, one home state representative is pushing for an amendment to the constitution that would outlaw marriage and civil unions between same-sex couples in the state. Period.
But yesterday, State Rep. Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny) issued a statement sharply critcizing Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) – the State Government Committee Chairman – who reintroduced a “marriage amendment” to the state constitution that sets out to define marriage between “One Man and One Woman.”
“The day after an action that unites the country, Representative Metcalfe has introduced a bill that would divide us, goes against the growing majority of Americans’ beliefs on equal rights under law and would drive jobs and people out of Pennsylvania,” says Frankel.
Metcalfe, however, claims the institution of marriage – for heterosexuals, anyway – is under attack. “This not only includes the special interests who want to permanently redefine marriage,” says Metcalfe, “but unfortunately the executive branch and the federal Department of Justice have blatantly and recklessly refused to uphold and defend its Constitutionality.”
He’s referring to the Obama administration’s rejection of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that penalizes same-sex couples who wed in states that allow gay civil unions, like nearby New Jersey. But as to how marriage is under attack, well, we’ve yet to figure that part out.
Frankel criticized Metcalfe and the pending House Bill 1434 legislation for “pandering to those who still question the president’s birth certificate, another outrageous distraction. Pennsylvanians want us to get down to real business, not put on a sideshow,” he says.
But if the bill is approved by the General Assembly this year, Pennsylvania voters would have the option to amend the state constitution with the following language (modeled after Florida’s marriage protection amendment, which has been criticized as being antigay by many LGBT activists):
“Marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife and no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.”
Frankel notes, “Seven in 10 Pennsylvanians support ending discrimination in employment, housing and credit that hurts their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender family members, co-workers and neighbors.” He says the amendment goes against what the majority of Americans – and Pennsylvanians – believe. “They expect the legislature to work on job creation and balancing the budget,” says Frankel, “not divisive distractions like this bill.”
He adds: “There are now less than two months to the state budget deadline. Why hasn’t the House Republican majority introduced its budget bill yet?”
Metcalfe, meanwhile, blames the White House for breaking from DOMA regulations, saying that marriage should simply not be available to gay people. “The definition of marriage as ‘the union of one man and one woman,’ defended and upheld by this legislation, is the traditional definition of marriage that has been recognized and accepted throughout history and the world for centuries. It should not be the Obama administration’s Department of Justice and the executive brand bureaucrats that decide this critical issue for our Commonwealth, but rather, the voters.”
You can sign a petition today to stop the marriage amendment by clicking here.