by providing things like health care, social services, quality education and child care. Now, back to reality… and today’s Philadelphia Inquirer article by the Pennsylvania Family Institute.
“Same-sex marriage” would not only change the definition of marriage, it would destroy it. With no real, fixed standard for the institution of marriage, legitimizing other unconventional unions, such as polygamy, could end up before the courts… By enshrining the definition of marriage in our state constitution, the very institution of marriage would be protected.”
I returned to Philly today from the Rally for Equality all prepared to write an inspiring missive about the 300 activists, clergy and community leaders – from Erie to Allentown – who gathered in the Rotunda of the Capitol building today to demonstrate opposition to the “Marriage Protection Amendment.” I thought I might quote Amy Sousa, of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence who commented that legislators “did get one thing right; marriage is under attack,” but from violence and poverty, not “non-violent committed relationships.” She was followed the Senior Law Center’s Karen Buck, who was “outraged at the carelessness” of this legislation,” pointing out that some of the most at risk are senior couples who can’t re-marry, if they want to protect their pensions or property.
I thought I would write about the “mild mannered moms” that Dan Kohn from PFLAG says are getting up in arms at our legislators. These are the moms and grandmoms who call the PFLAG helpline to say “my daughter won’t move back to PA, now” since she may lose rights and ask “how can my two sons have two different sets of rights…?” I thought I would mention a story from Harrisburg City Councilmember Dan Miller about rushing to the emergency room with his daughter, only to be barred from the examining room because he was not her legal father.
I thought I would write about watching all the activists set off from the Rotunda to meet with their legislators – in clerical collars, three-piece suits, goth black, and rainbow kepot – returning either triumphant and despondent.
and, then, as I rode my bicycle home from the Value All Families Coalition bus, I thought about the ten reps (Buxton, Josephs, Frankel, Leach, Pistella, Roebuck, Stetler, Veon and Conti [in absentia]) who showed their support for the rally. Ten representatives. And, then, I started to get pissed off. Where are the rest? Eighty-nine representatives are listed as co-sponsoring this piece of legislation. One is voting for it because his “wife told him to.” Another hadn’t neither read the text nor realized how it could strip residents of his county of their domestic partner benefits.
I am furious that my rights and those of my girlfriend and my community may be jeopardized because of the religious beliefs of a legislator or his/her spouse. I am angry that my girlfriend might not be entitled to health benefits because of a strategic move during an election cycle. I refuse to lose the power to foster kids because some rep went with the status quo and didn’t even bother to read the text of a bill.
Today, Representative Dan Frankel asked “what is courageous about protecting the Constitution? My job is to protect the constitution …not to amend it to discriminate against law-abiding people.” Well, Representative, it seems like it is a courageous act to show up in support of LGBTQ folks and their families. I hope your colleagues can muster some up for this fight.
The folks who turned out today from across the state to speak their piece certainly mustered their courage. And, for that, in the words of ACLU-PA’s own Larry Frankel: “I thank you, for fighting for what is right, what is just and what is really truely beautiful.”
And, to the PA Family Institute: step away from my civil rights.
Amy Laura in Philly