Friday, April 14, 2006

The skinny on PA's anti-gay marriage amendment

Since I've posted on the efforts to add an anti-gay marraige amendment to Pennsylvania's constitution in the past, I thought it be proper to point out what would happen if this amendent is passed. In short, lots of lives will be ruined just so a few married straights can feel smug and entitled.

The following is from The Pennsylvania Gay And Lesbian Alliance:

"To become part of the Pennsylvania Constitution - the Anti-Marriage Amendment needs to pass the State House and the State Senate before the end of June 2006 and then pass the State House and the State Senate again before June 2008. The Amendment would then be placed on the ballot as a referendum in either November 2007 or November 2008. The amendment needs to receive a simple majority in the State House, State Senate and before the voters. Governor Rendell has no role in the Amendment process and cannot veto the amendment.

If the amendment passes that State House and State Senate - a vicious public election campaign will result. Commercials and flyers that demonized gay and lesbian people will fill the television airwaves and all voter's mailboxes.

If the Anti-Marriage Amendment is added to the PA Constitution - it could have the follow effects:

1. Prohibit same-sex marriages in PA forever - even if a majority of Pennsylvanians supported same-sex marriage.

2. Prohibit recognition of same-sex marriages performed other states.

3. Render Philadelphia's Life Partnership Ordinance invalid and unconstitutional.

4. Prohibit local goverments from offering domestic partnership benefits to their employees. Currently Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Montgomery County offer their employees domestic partnership benefits.

5. Prohibit universities from offering domestic partnership benefits to their employees.

6. Prohibit protection from abuse orders from being issued to non married persons.

Pennsylvania law already prohibits gay and lesbian couples from marrying, so this amendment is not necessary.

This Amendment will affect all families, not just same-sex families. While supporters in other states have said these amendments are only about gay marriage, this is not true. In Ohio, prosecutions of Domestic Abuse cases involvning unmarried people, including unmarried heterosexual couples, have been altered. In Michigan, groups are challenging domestic partner benefits for employees. Virginia's recently enacted amendment is so broad that it may interfere with the rights of all Virginians to create wills, medical directives, powers of attorney, child custody and property arrangements, and even joint bank accounts."

The anti-marriage amendment is currently on the State House Agenda for a vote on Monday, April 24th, so if you live in Pennsylvania do contact your State Representative and tell him/her to stop this madness.


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