It ain’t good. You may notice a theme.
When it comes to the continuing attempt to make the Pennsylvania Constitution explicitly say that marriage is between one man and one woman, it is hard to say what is worse — the obsession or the waste of time.
Can we now assume that the Legislature has adequately addressed the issues important to most Pennsylvanians? For example, has it taken all the steps needed to reform itself? Has it enacted comprehensive property tax reform? How about equitable funding for education?
The answer, of course, is “no.”
We know, we know. Despite soaring gasoline prices, skyrocketing home heating oil costs, escalating grocery bills, a tanking economy, Wall Street gyrations, home foreclosures, the fifth year of the Iraq occupation and a fascinating presidential Democratic primary, gay marriages and civil unions are what everybody has been talking about.
The Morning Call of Allentown.
The committee’s hasty decision also was a waste of time. Regardless of the personal feelings or religious training of Judiciary Committee members, the Senate has more pressing issues before it. There are unfunded repair and maintenance needs for the state’s roads and bridges, the unresolved pursuit of a more equitable way to adequately fund the public schools and a series of problems with the law regulating casino gambling that ought to have higher priority, to mention just a few. But the Judiciary Committee would move gay marriage to the top of the list.
The Lancaster Intelligencer Journal.
To listen to some local politicians this year, the two biggest problems facing Pennsylvania are gay marriage and denying gun rights to people who want to pack heat while taking a leisurely walk through county parks. Welcome to fantasy land. In fact, Pennsylvania faces a mountain of problems, but some legislators and legislative candidates seem more interested in spreading ideology than in solving problems.
The York Dispatch.
If any timely words of wisdom could be imparted to the state Senate in this time of partisan sniping at the state and national level amid concerns over healthcare reform, highway maintenance and onerous
property taxation, they would be: Stick to important business. But as usual, such caution is wasted in the political wind. So the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, with a pile of important issues on its plate, in a 10-4 vote decided it was time to amend the state Constitution by banning gay and lesbian marriage — and halt those looming threats to civilization, civil unions, in their tracks.
(Hat tip, Equality Advocates.)
The reputation of our state legislature has taken a beating in the last three years. To recap, in 2005, the legislature gave itself a pay raise at 2am (that is not an exaggeration) the night that it went out for summer break in a bill on which the public had been given no notice. In the ensuing outcry, a state Supreme Court justice was not retained at the polls that fall because voters felt the court had worked too closely with the legislature on the pay raise. (Judges got a raise, too.) This was the first time since the start of retention votes that a justice had been ousted.
The following year nearly one-fifth of the legislature was replaced either through retirement or at the polls. The Senate majority leader and the Senate President Pro Tempore both lost.
In response, numerous reform efforts have been undertaken that have included no more late night legislative sessions and a time period in which legislation must be considered before it can receive a vote, among other things.
While the public’s distrust of the legislature is no longer roaring, it still simmers just below the surface.
Which brings us to the state Senate’s attempt to amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage. These guys just don’t get it. People out here are hurting. You know all of the problems, so I don’t need to re-articulate them. And what they see in Harrisburg is a state Senate that is hopelessly out of touch.
Andy in Harrisburg