Rep. Steve McCarter Speaks Out About Pa. Marriage Equality Bill

Rep. McCarter: 'No one wants to be the last state on the list.'

Rep. Steve McCarter

It’s unlikely that Rep. Steve McCarter is the name that crosses your mind when you think of Pennsylvania’s recently-announced marriage equality bill. In fact, most national headlines made in the past week since its announcement have either left out his name altogether or, embarrassingly, gotten it wrong. But the plausibility of the bill, McCarter says, has been a topic of conversation he and Rep. Sims have been discussing as far back as January. And in the short time that’s passed since the duo announced the bill last week, they’ve accrued a total of 21 co-sponsors — 15 of whom represent Greater Philadelphia, and one of whom is Republican Rep. Chris Ross. (Baby steps, people.)

To be sure, it’s a team effort.

Eager to hear from the second parent of the bill, I dialed in to pick the brain of the freshman representative of the 154th District (Montgomery and Philadelphia counties).

See our dialogue below:

G Philly: What’s the backstory behind this bill? How did it come about?

Steve McCarter: Well, this whole thing came about over a series of months, but it’s been a long time coming. The need to bring about marriage equality not just in Pennsylvania, but all across the country, is incredibly important. Brian and I were both running for the legislature this past year, and we were first meeting each other back in, gosh, we had a conversation back in January, which was when we first started talking about the issue directly, and [we discussed] when would be the right time to really push forward with this bill in the legislature. Brian has been working on it for a long time — he’s a civil rights attorney, so it was a natural pairing for both of us to move ahead on this. And when we started looking back again on the issue in late May, early June, we started thinking, ‘Maybe the time is right to start thinking about this again.’ So when DOMA was going down, we had ongoing conversations about whether we wanted to [announce] before DOMA or after, and we decided basically to wait a little bit and see what the decision would be. It was a more favorable decision than certainly I was expecting, looking at the court, but it was exciting. And I think it gave us the momentum to move forward.