Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Language in PA's anti-gay marriage amendment

On Tuesday the Pennsylvania state Senate committee threw out language in a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage that would have prohibited the state or any municipality from recognizing domestic partnerships. They voted 9-5 to strike the language. The panel then sent the amendment in a 13-1 vote to the chamber floor.

It is not known when the full Senate will take up the amendment. If the state House and Senate do not agree on a single anti-gay marriage amendment that could reach voters in 2007, state law would require them to start from scratch in the next two-year legislative period, pushing the earliest date for a vote back to 2009. The 2005-06 session will end on or around June 30, though the lawmakers eager to finish up their work may go over that deadline.

Stacey Sobel of the Center for Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights stated that while the LGBT community does not support any type of anti-marriage amendment, at least the stripped-down version that survived the Senate committee "does not take away existing rights" from gay and lesbian couples. The House version had such broad language that it could be interpreted as it would be okay to dismantle legal ties between unmarried heterosexual couples as well.

House-approved amendment:
"Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this commonwealth, and neither the commonwealth nor any of its political subdivisions shall create or recognize a legal status identical or substantially equivalent to that of marriage for unmarried individuals."

Senate committee version:
"Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this commonwealth."

State Senator J. Barry Stout (D., Washington) exclaimed that he was ashamed that the committee was being used to divert attention from issues that were more important to Pennsylvanians, including the budget and property tax reform. He received applause for his statement.


Blogger middleagesteve said...

Are you going to NY pride rally on sunday the 18th and the march on the following sunday? if so leave a message for me on my blog, I'll say hello.

9:55 AM  

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