Casey Holds Off on Gay Marriage Support

gay marriage equal logoIn the past year, many Democrats – including President Obama – have gone from supporting civil unions to supporting gay marriage. Bob Casey is one of 10 Democrats in the U.S. Senate who has not.

As the Supreme Court weighs constitutional questions surrounding gay marriage, gay rights advocates are accelerating their lobbying for Casey to join his colleagues.

“Senator Casey has supported every other LGBT rights issue that’s come to Congress,” said Adrian Shanker, President of the gay rights advocacy group Equality Pa. “His support for civil unions was great in 2006. Now it’s time for the next step.”

“People are starting to see him as one of the last holdouts.”

4 Democratic Senators, including Mark Begich who’s up for re-election in Alaska in 2014, have switched on the issue in the past 2 days.

Most Pa. Democrats support of gay marriage, Shanker said, including former Gov. Ed Rendell, the state party, and almost every contender for Governor in 2014.

Roger Lund, the Adams County Democratic party chairman, had more blunt words for the Senator in an open letter he posted to facebook.

“That you have yet to speak up in favor of marriage equality for all Americans is a travesty. That you think you are better than me or tens of millions of other Americans simply because you are heterosexual and that you are entitled to special rights given to married couples makes me realize just what kind of man you are,” Lund wrote.

Advocates are given hope by Casey’s recent reversal on assault weapons. In the aftermath of the Newtown, Connecticut shootings, Casey reversed his opposition to a ban.

Casey seems to be waiting and seeing. Spokesman John Rizzo emailed PoliticsPA the same comment his office has sent to other news outlets.

“In the past, Senator Casey has supported civil unions and he is closely following the debate around DOMA. He intends to thoroughly review any legislation on this when it comes before the Senate,” Rizzo said.

Randy Wenger, the Chief Counsel at the conservative Pa. Family Institute, commended Casey on his stance.

“We’re grateful that Senator Casey continues to support marriage as between one man and one woman,” he said.

“Marriage is more than just a sign of affection: it’s about children. Children do best in a home with a mother and a father.”

Casey won re-election by a comfortable margin in 2012; gay rights were not a noteworthy issue on the campaign trail.

Update: State Rep. Brian Sims (D-Phila), who is openly gay, wrote a open letter to Casey. He said in part, “You have had more opportunities, and come from more supportive communities than so many others who have voiced their support in these critical weeks. History, as well as your constituents, is demanding that you speak now on this issue and I hope that your conscience compels you to rise to the occasion.”

 

March 27th, 2013 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Senate, Top Stories | 27 Comments

27 thoughts on “Casey Holds Off on Gay Marriage Support”

  1. football says:

    Stick by your team through thick and thin, despite the wins and losses.

    Gene Wojciechowski’s ode to college football is a great
    read. Among those that came out in the wish list
    is a better line play, addition of team entrances, and crowd atmosphere.

  2. CentralBucksGranny says:

    Westie—

    Wow–I’m pretty sure you didn’t mean it that way, but your response to the President of the PA Young Dems was basically patting her on the head and saying “How cute! You have an opinion. Isn’t that amusing? Now go in the kitchen and make me a sammich before Meathead gets home.”

    She’s the President of the Pennsylvania Young Democrats, an organization made up mostly of young professionals, not a little girl. When you say things like “you understand your position in the party.” It comes across as patronizing. Back in my day, and maybe in yours, (I’m not sure if your an old fogey like me) it was considered okay to talk to “gals” like that. But these days it’s not. Even though I know you meant it as a compliment, a younger person might not.

    Just my two cents worth!

  3. Cindy says:

    Casey has always been the lesser of 2 evils. We need to find a good Democrat to primary him

  4. PETE C says:

    It is unfortunate that most of the comments refer to constitutional rights but then go on to deny one of th most valued rights to S

  5. West says:

    Young dem -Nice letter as a young democrat you clearly understand your position in the party. You voice your concern and opinion to our elected officials and not attack them. Unlike others who attack and cause others to join his attack.
    Mr Lund in your postings you clearly are not only attacking Mr Casey but many other democratic leaders. I am sure the party will be happy to except your resignation – so that you can continue to bad mouth the democrats that disagree or don’t beat to your drum.

  6. Bradley Kirsch says:

    Let us try to notch this down a bit.

    I have always considered Bob Casey and more recently Roger Lund to be friends of mine. I am very upset that my friends would become involved in such heated accusations as to neglect their real relationship on so many other issues. The settlement of this issue requires some realistic look at their positions in the matter of the Governments right to bless or deny marriage by virtue of bias instead of by applying our constitutional standards.

    As a State Committee member I suggest that we follow the dictates of the State Committee when we deal with issues of such magnitude which affect the legal equality of Gender, racial or religious freedom of action. The election to office doesn’t require Senator Casey to personally or religiously give in on his religions dislike or condemnation of gay marriage – it does require him to abandon his position in this when it applies to his actions as an elected official who is sworn to a secular constitutional form of government.
    As long as the Government does not require that specific religious ceremonies be conducted within those religions that abhor homosexuality or the basis of their right to conduct religions as they believe they should be I don’t really understand why Bob Casey remains opposed to the idea of civil marriage. I am always upset by religions interfering with government standards of civil conduct.
    People still have a right not to like gay marriage – what they don’t have a right to do is discriminate against gay people as they love others of their own choice as equal beings under our form of separation of Church and State.

    While I understand that there is a very wide separation that is very meaningful to those who lean religiously against gay people I also maintain that our founders provided the best declaration of our ability to live under a secular set of human rights while maintaining the right to be against anything we want as long as that dislike is not acted on to the detriment of others.

    I sincerely hope that Bob and Roger get back together beyond the passion of just one issue and realize that this nation is in the fight of its “real and endangered” constitutional mandate that what choices humans make in reference to who they love cannot be split by using government or our constitution as a way to interrupt the right of one human to live in marital cohesion with another.
    It would be best to realize the words of many wise men that we have a separation between freedom of religion and a separation of church and state that is binding on our government lest we lose both in the processes that enable us all to live in peace.
    It is not essential that Bob Casey endorse this it is essential that he not vote as a public official against it. It is also essential that Roger not try to force Bob to like what he must as a public official vote for that as a citizen that he may oppose on religious grounds.

  7. Pam says:

    Senator Casey should be dealing with these issues the same way VP Biden does – Biden stated during the VP debate with Ryan that Roe v. Wade is the law of the land, despite his personal beliefs. Casey represents his constituents, not his religion, while he’s Senator. His personal beliefs are part of who he is, but he represents us, and it’s past time for people to recognize gay marriage as a civil right, not a threat to a religion.

  8. Rebecca Sammon says:

    I’m not prepared to advocate anyone oppose Senator Casey in the 2018 Primary, but I do wish that the senator would give more thought to the issue. I have strongly supported Senator Casey in the past, and I will continue to do so in the future.

    Like Senator Casey, I’ve lived in NEPA my whole life, and I’m a practicing Catholic. I disagree with my Church’s teachings on a few issues, and marriage equality happens to be one of them.

    Beyond that, we are all blessed to live in a country where we have the benefit of a Constitution that entitles all citizens to equal protection of our laws. Unfortunately, our legal system is depriving same-sex couples the same legal benefits as those of the opposite sex. That isn’t who we are as a people. We stand against tyranny in all forms. We fight for equality. Not so long ago, and not so very far away, our parents and grandparents boycotted and marched, and gave blood, sweat and tears for the very rights most of us take for granted.

    At the time Loving v. Virginia was decided, it was unpopular, controversial, corageous and correct. I hope, one day, to say the same thing is true about US v. Windsor. I hope and pray that Senator Casey comes to stand on the right side of history, and I continue to believe that he will.

    Rebecca Sammon
    President,
    Pennsylvania Young Democrats

  9. Liberal Dem says:

    Thank you Roger Lund for your comments. Maybe you should primary Casey. I’d support you. There are lots of progressives who are fed up with Casey and the Democratic Party bosses shoving him down our throats. Let face it the only reason this guy even got elected was due to his name. Basically a kid with a silver spoon in his mouth who’s living off his papa’s legacy. All Casey cares about is appeasing the bigoted “Jo Ann NArdelli” wing of the party. Even if Casey finally decided its politically expedient enough for him to support marriage equality; its too little too late. Bob deserves to be primaried in 2018 and let me be the first to say….ROGER LUND FOR SENATE 2018!!!

  10. Frank says:

    The PA Democratic Party voted to support marriage equality, and support the President as he has evolved on this issue. Our Country has finally thought about this issue, beyond our own personal preferences, and has embraced our Constitutional right to the pursuit of happiness. Loving and marrying someone we love is our right to happiness. The ridiculous argument of the past, that somehow same sex marriage harms heterosexual marriage has fallen flat on it’s face. The argument that marriage is for procreation is laughable (should we have a fertility test for married couples, and what about our senior citizens getting married?) , and the argument that civil unions is equal to marriage has been demonstrated to be wrong. Even Bill O’Reilly has agreed that the arguments against same sex marriage is weak and “bible thumping”. Senator Casey has been too slow on too many issues, because of his religious beliefs and he needs to remember that he represents us, not his own personal views. Roger Lund has every right to speak out against Senator Casey. Senator Casey should get out into the State a little more and learn what people in the entire State, not just his backyard, really think about these issues.
    His new stance on gun safety (background checks) is a welcomed improvement, but still doesn’t go far enough. His stance on stem cell research is weak, his stance on the gay rights issue is weak. His stance on Choice and contraception is weak. He is a weak Senator and needs to show leadership for what is right. As a lifelong Democrat, I can barely support him, (I hold my nose to vote for him) and would love a strong principled Senator from our Party in our State. Mr. Casey can read the writing on the wall and start taking stronger stands, or risk his political career. That is his choice, and members of the Democratic Party don’t have to accept a weak leader. We can elect someone who will represent us better. Don’t blame the messenger. Mr. Casey should show greater humanity if he is a true Christian.

  11. bparks3 says:

    To say that Casey has disappointed me is an understatement. I thought he was better than this.

  12. Jerry Policoff says:

    I am a lifelong Democrat who rejects the silly notion that Democrats should never speak ill of other Democrats.
    I oppose the XL pipeline; support a woman’s right to choose, support marriage equality, and oppose the Republican war on women.
    Casey supports the XL pipeline, opposes abortion rights, opposes marriage equality, and voted for the draconian “Blunt Amendment” which was one of the more onerous bills to emerge from the Republican War on Women.
    I have twice chosen write-ins candidates rather than vote for Casey, and I support a progressive primary challenge against him. He is a “faux” Democrat who does not deserve progressive votes. He certainly does not get mine. You need to do more than put a “D” in front of your name to get my vote.

  13. Jerry Policoff says:

    What is all this crap about Democrats never being allowed to criticize criticizing Democrats. I am a Democrat who opposes the XL pipeline, supports marriage equality, supports a woman’s right to choose, and opposes the “Republican war on women.”
    Casey is a pseudo-Democrat who supports the the XL pipeline, opposes abortion rights, opposes marriage equality, and voted for the Blunt amendment which was most of the draconian anti-women’s bills to emerge from the “Republic” war on women.
    I do not support Casey. I have voted for write-ins against him both times, and I fervently support primarying him. Good Democrats don’t automatically vote for anyone who puts a “D” in front of their name. We are supposed to care about issues, not just party labels. Casey is a disgrace.

  14. Frank says:

    The PA Democratic Party voted to support marriage equality, and support the President as he has evolved on this issue. Our Country has finally thought about this issue, beyond our own personal preferences, and has embraced our Constitutional right to the pursuit of happiness. Loving and marrying someone we love is our right to happiness. The ridiculous argument of the past, that somehow same sex marriage harms heterosexual marriage has fallen flat on it’s face. The argument that marriage is for procreation is laughable (should we have a fertility test for married couples, and what about our senior citizens getting married?) , and the argument that civil unions is equal to marriage has been demonstrated to be wrong. Even Bill O’Reilly has agreed that the arguments against same sex marriage is weak and “bible thumping”. Senator Casey has been too slow on too many issues, because of his religious beliefs and he needs to remember that he represents us, not his own personal views. Roger Lund has every right to speak out against Senator Casey. Senator Casey should get out into the State a little more and learn what people in the entire State, not just his backyard, really think about these issues.
    His new stance on gun safety (background checks) is a welcomed improvement, but still doesn’t go far enough. His stance on stem cell research is weak, his stance on the gay rights issue is weak. His stance on Choice and contraception is weak. He is a weak Senator and needs to show leadership for what is right. As a lifelong Democrat, I can barely support him, (I hold my nose to vote for him) and would love a strong principled Senator from our Party in our State. Mr. Casey can read the writing on the wall and start taking stronger stands, or risk his political career. That is his choice, and members of the Democratic Party don’t have to accept a weak leader. We can elect someone who will represent us better. Don’t blame the messenger. Mr. Casey should show greater humanity if he is a true Christian.

  15. sherim says:

    Who, better than Democrats, to speak out & hold elected Democratic officials to the party platform? This is a civil rights issue. And, from a politics perspective…..when the righties held their elected officials’ feet to the fire, their party shifted even further to the right. So, I applaud the lefties who tirelessly try to move the Democratic Party back to the left side of center. Go Progressive Dems, go!!!! Stand up, get up, don’t give up the fight!

  16. Roger Lund says:

    West,

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments. Indeed I do not speak for the party. I am speaking for myself as someone who has donated a good amount of money to Casey’s campaign the first time around. I am disappointed with the Senator and unless he knows that people are unhappy with his coy position on this he will remain coy. I am a Democrat, but there is no one voice in Pennsylvania or elsewhere. That’s what the Republicans do. If we can’t call out a member of the party who doesn’t face reelection for 5 more years, when can we speak up? Sorry, but we are very far apart on my right, and dare I say – responsibility – to demand our elected officials represent the views of the majority of the state.

  17. Michael Morrill says:

    Tell Casey to get on the right side of history: http://signon.org/sign/tell-sen-casey-to-support

    10,000 have already signed since yesterday afternoon.

  18. Sue says:

    The infuriating thing about Casey is his confusion of his personal faith with the demands of his office!

    He certainly does NOT represent me properly when he puts his religion above the equality of all the citizens of our state

  19. West says:

    Wrong side – I guess you just don’t get it. I never said Lund didn’t have a right to disagree with any elected official. I said as a member of the party his attack on Casey is shameful. His ugly and hate comes across pretty clear. I would compare him to the tea party nuts. And just for the record I am not against gay marrage. I am against democrat so called party people attacking the party. As for the split in pa or any other state in the US i know people that love guy people and hate guy people which is their choice as long as they don’t harm anyone. It is America you can hate or love anyone you want.

  20. The east says:

    The mad at the world, what about me wing of the Democratic Party has popped up again. Roger is a good man and has the right to say and feel that way. It is the position of the national Democratic Party and state Democratic Party. I wonder if Casey had problems with putting it on the party’s platform at the national convention?

    The open gun laws, anti-gay rights, limited government wing of the party is alive and well, in western PA. Why doesn’t the rest of the state split somewhere west of the Susquehanna and create the 51st state of Northern West Virginia?

  21. WrongSideofTheIssue says:

    “The West”–It’s not “many state members” it’s the Democratic Party. You can read about it here: http://www.thepennsylvaniaprogressive.com/diary/4181/pa-dems-endorse-marriage-equality-womens-rights
    It’s a big tent party, but if you keep looking at marriage equality as “their problem” as opposed to “a civil rights problem, that is everyone’s problem in a fair, and equitable civil society,” you are looking at the issue the same way southern Democrats looked at interracial marriage in the pre-Loving v.Virginia era.

  22. The west says:

    When I stated Mr. Lund does not speak for the Democratic Party – I referred to his attack on Senator Casey. And shame on him for attacking him and even encouraging people to be against him. Yes many state members believe in equality when it comes to marriage. I never say they didn’t. Senator Casey has supported many issues on equality of rights for many people. Again shame on Mr Lund for publicly attacking him. Resign from the party and attack all you want.

  23. TNardi says:

    Add Kay Hagan to the list of Democrats jumping on board the marriage ship.

  24. Rural Progressive says:

    “The West–”

    While I respect Senator Casey and do not advocate a primary challenge against as some have suggested, The official position of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, is to support marriage equality, as of the state committee meeting last summer. I am proud to say that I, along with the vast majority of the members of Democratic State Committee supported the motion Mr. Lund, along with many others, proposed. So, yes, on the issue of Marriage Equality, Mr. Lund and “Liberal Dem” do speak for and to the official position of the Democratic Party of Pennsylvania.

    I applaud Mr. Lund and Mr. Shanker, and for “The West” to say that their support of marriage equality was somehow just “their own cause” is utterly narrow minded and intolerant. I have health insurance, yet I fight for those who lack it. I am not in a union, yet I support union rights. I am employed, yet I support unemployment compensation. I am not a minority, yet I support the Voting Rights Act.

    I absolutely appreciate Senator Casey’s hard work on behalf of millions of Pennsylvanians, and I understand that like many people of faith, this is a difficult issue with which to wrestle. As a practicing Catholic, my personal position on this issue is in conflict with my church’s teaching. But, I also believe that my faith teaches love and acceptance.

  25. The west says:

    Senator Casey is a good man. A loyal man. Casey fights for Pennsylvania on all levels.
    To bad people call themselves Democrats but only care about their own causes and do not have a loyal bone in their body! Shame on you Lund!! By the way – you do not speak for the Democratic Party or Pennsylvania!

  26. Liberal Dem says:

    Primary him. I was never thrilled about Casey as a candidate. But he was worlds better than Santorum and that dope he ran against last year. But it would be GREAT to see a real liberal challenge Casey next time around in a primary.

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