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Gay Rights in the Senate Race

The national political discourse turned sharply toward gay marriage and other LGBT rights issues this week on President Obama’s announcement that he supports gay marriage. The contrast is slightly less stark in the U.S. Senate contest.

Sen. Bob Casey is prominent among socially conservative Democrats. He opposes gay marriage, though supports civil unions (until Wednesday, the same position as Obama).

Reports the Morning Call:

Casey supports civil unions, spokesman Larry Smar said, but not gay marriage. Casey opposes actions by states to define marriage as only for heterosexual couples.

Republican Tom Smith, on the other hand, opposes gay marriage and would like to see the issue left to the states – but would support an amendment to the Constitutional banning it. He would oppose a federal ban on civil unions, but does not support them personally.

Casey and Smith are further apart on other LGBT issues, namely the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a federal ban on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation by non-religious employers with 15 or more workers.

Casey supports the bill, the Inquirer reports, but Smith said he hadn’t read it.

Smith said he was not familiar with the details of the bill on workplace issues that Casey favors.

“To be very honest with you,” the Republican said, “I haven’t had an opportunity to read that bill in its entirety, but I support pay equality.”

In a questionnaire for the PA Family Council (PDF) earlier this year, Smith said he would oppose the measure.

7 Responses

  1. Thanks John for educating some people here that it really doesn’t matter what Obama, Casey or Mr. Smith think about Gay Rights. It is a state issue period. Those at the Federal level are as usual simply trying to distract from the problems they do face into problems of importance that they do not face given their areas of legislative responsibility.

  2. Anyone who thinks Bob Casey is going to lose gives me the lolz. The Senator’s got a good record, especially on gay rights. I was part of the lobbying effort through the Human Rights Campaign in Washington in 2010 for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. We met with dozens of staffers of Congresspersons and Senators from both sides of the aisle, but Bob Casey was the only one that took our meeting himself. He listened – like, actually listened – to what we had to say, to the point where his Chief of Staff came into the room at least twice reminding him he was late. He wouldn’t leave until every one of us had a chance to address him. We spoke for about an hour. When the meeting was over, I saw a very tall Senator Casey quite literally sprint down the hallway of the office building, toward an elevator, saying “Thank you so much, I’m with you, but I gotta go vote!”

    It was quite a sight to see. I’ve never been prouder to have voted for him. I’ll proudly vote for him again, in November.

  3. I can’t blame Obama and Casey for trying to conversation to gay marriage which affect something like 1-2% of the people.Marriage licenses are issued by states, not the federal government, so Obama and Casey’s stand is irrelevant, unless it is yet another power they are trying to illegally assume.

    We have no idea if Bob Casey ever has read the bill..

    Tom Smith wants to read the bill. Refreshing change that someone actually wants to read the legislation before giving a definitive answer (or before they would vote on it.)

  4. One more reason Tom Smith should NOT be running for senator! Smith is running for his own personal agenda and doesn’t need bothered to educate himself on anything else. Should he get elected, he will pick up the phone and call his good buddy, the corrupt State Senator Don White and ask his advice on everything anyway. Seeing what a mess White caused in the Armstrong School District with his back door dealings, god save us all if Smith gets elected!

  5. What legislation has Tom Smith read? He knows so little about policy. As a nominee for US Senate he needs some serious schooling. He is currently in no way ready to be a Senator.

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