One day after nearly 400 people packed the state capitol rotunda with chants of “Stop this bill!”, the state Senate chose not to vote on and to table Senate Bill 1250, the marriage amendment. Senate leadership made this move after learning that the bill had no chance to move in the state House.
Right here in Pennsylvania- our state that some pundits like to simplify into Philly, Pittsburgh, and Alabama- the LGBT civil rights movement achieved a significant victory. And it happened because both Democrats and Republicans stood up against the legislation.
This was a victory, but the bill is stalled, not dead. Now we need the state House to hold firm in its stance to not move the bill, if it were to pass the Senate. Anyone in Pennsylvania who is reading this needs to contact their representative with the message, “Oppose the marriage amendment. Oppose Senate Bill 1250.” Only call your personal representative. Out-of-district communication is really irritating to legislators.
Meanwhile, throughout the week, editorial boards have been coming out (so to speak) against the marriage amendment, like The Patriot News of Harrisburg:
What is sometimes referred to as a “defense of marriage” initiative is an attempt to fundamentally alter a constitution — intended to protect the liberties of people from the power of government — to discriminate against the state’s minority gay population.
The notion that the institution of marriage is somehow put in jeopardy by the prospect of gay couples formalizing their relationship in civil union, which is illegal by statute in Pennsylvania, is preposterous.
And The Public Opinion of Chambersburg:
We agree with opponents who say this amendment would formally codify discrimination within the state’s constitution. State Sen. Vincent Fumo of Philadelphia summed the issue nicely when he echoed the words of the Founding Fathers, who believed constitutions defend minorities from the tyranny of the majority.
And the most prominent conservative newspaper in the state, Richard Mellon Scaife’s Pittsburgh Tribune Review:
But perhaps even more onerous is the effort to ban same-sex civil unions. What, gays and lesbians, because of their sexual orientation, somehow do not have the same and fundamental right of contract as their heterosexual counterparts?
Surely legislative backers of this amendment have more pressing business in Harrisburg than to attempt to enshrine discrimination into the Pennsylvania Constitution. That they appear not to suggests voters should make a change in November.
I’m looking forward to the day when we drive the final nail into the coffin of this foolish idea.
Andy in Harrisburg