PA Leaders on Gay Marriage

Several state legislators praise the president's statement about marriage equality this week

Babette Josephs (courtesy of the Office of Babette Josephs)

The reaction to President Obama’s statement about his support of same-sex marriage this week has inspired a range of sentiment, with Democrats praising him and many in the GOP condemning him. There are even quite a few liberals who are asking the administration to do more to ensure that discrimination is not legislated in state constitutions and that DOMA is, once and for all, overturned.

Here in Pennsylvania, Democrats have been mostly supportive of the president’s evolution on same-sex marriage. The co-chairmen of the LGBT Equality Caucus in the Pennsylvania legislature today praised the announcement.

“Many places that already permit same-sex marriage – New York, Maryland, D.C. and others – are geographically close to Pennsylvania,” says State Rep. Babette Josephs. “We will be losing valuable citizens to these other states because of our backward ways; the image of Pennsylvania will continue to be tarnished. The president is a religious and conservative man, as are the people of Pennsylvania. In increasing numbers, they think that same-sex marriage is only fair. I agree with Mr. Obama and the growing numbers of Pennsylvanians.”

State Sen. Daylin Leach also has kind words for Obama, saying, “I commend President Obama for publicly supporting the marriage equality movement – a movement that is gaining traction every day. He is the first sitting president to endorse same-sex marriage, and will go down in history as a champion in the ongoing movement for true equality. I am hopeful that by standing up for what is right, the president will encourage others to do the same.”

Daylin Leach (courtesy of the Office of Daylin Leach)

With Pennsylvania debating a law that would essentially outlaw gay and lesbian marriage in the state, the issue has never been more important in our own backyard. “These heartfelt, brave words from the president are historic,” says State Rep. Dan Frankel. “They recognize a basic truth – that people who want to commit to building a life and family together should have the ability to do so.”

Dan Frankel (courtesy of the Office of Dan Frankel)

He goes onto explain: “I’ve been married 30 years. My fellow Pennsylvanians deserve the same opportunity for a committed relationship that I have had with my wife. They deserve the same legal and financial peace of mind, joy and stability that marriage brings for my family, and for other families throughout Pennsylvania. The president stated that his position has evolved. Pennsylvanians, too, are evolving on this matter. Polls have shown increasing and overwhelming public support year after year for federal and state legislation, such as my House Bill 300, that would protect our LGBT family members, friends and neighbors from discrimination.”

Building on President Obama’s comment that his own daughters helped shape his vision for equality for LGBT Americans, Frankel adds, “Young people simply don’t understand why it would ever be okay to discriminate – whether that’s for housing, a job, a seat at a restaurant, or in the right to marry. I hope that our laws will soon catch up with the public. I’m proud that the leadership of our country is already there.”