Pittsburgh PrideFest 2006

Pittsburgh PrideFest took place downtown this weekend on a very sunny, very hot Saturday. The ACLU helped organize a contingent to march in the parade against the PA Marriage Protection Amendment, which ended up attracting a good number of people.

The most surprising thing for me at PrideFest, besides seeing Gov. Rendell flanked by drag queens, was the amount of interest and outrage at the Marriage Protection Amendment. Because much of PrideFest is just fun and social, I didn’t think we would get a lot of interest in our more ‘serious’ campaign against H.B. 2381.

Boy, was I wrong. People were literally ripping material out of our hands about the Amendment. Some participants even got irate when we ran out of information!

All goes to show there is a lot of anger about what is happening in Harrisburg right now, including at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Such an amendment could form the basis for cruelly denying long-time partners the right to visit their dying mates. It could spell the end of same-sex benefits of the sort that are given at the University of Pittsburgh — and which in today’s world are essential to attracting the best talent. It could leave Pennsylvania less able to compete in the fields of academics and business.

Sarah Springer, a Pittsburgh pediatrician who is medical director of International Adoption Health Services of Western Pennsylvania, pointed out another sort of danger in a Post-Gazette oped piece earlier this month: “When legal recognition of committed couples and families is denied, children lose health insurance, inheritance rights and the rights to have their parents make medical and educational decisions for them.”

This whole amendment is objectionable. That the civil union language was in there at the start proves the lie at the heart of its supporters’ claims: This isn’t about protecting the sanctity of traditional marriage (if it were, it would ban divorce, the real culprit). It is about writing a note of prejudice into the state constitution.

The state Senate should reject this amendment in any form.

Lisa in Pittsburgh