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Proposed Marriage Amendment Draws Fire from LGBT Advocates, Predictably

News broke a few minutes ago that the House State Government Committee will delay its vote on HB 1434, known as the “Marriage Protection” amendment, proposed by State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler). The legislation, which drew intense criticism from gay rights advocates, would establish an amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution that would redefine marriage as “the legal union of only one man and one woman.”

Metcalfe currently serves as the State Government Committee chair.

When he introduced the legislation in May, Metcalfe cited the Obama administration’s decision not to use federal resources to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court.

“The institution of traditional marriage has never been under greater attack,” said Metcalfe at the time. “This not only includes the special interests who want to permanently redefine marriage, but unfortunately the executive branch and the federal Department of Justice who have blatantly and recklessly refused to uphold and defend its Constitutionality.”

It’s another example of a hot-button social issue taking center stage in Harrisburg. It’s already facing criticism from former committee chair Rep. Babette Josephs (D-Phila), the anti-Metcalfe. Yesterday, she, “demanded that Rep. Daryl Metcalfe remove from the State Government Committee’s agenda a vote on H.B. 1434.”

“I call on the gentleman from Butler County to withdraw this discriminatory backward legislation,” Josephs said. “Instead of finding ways to create jobs and promote a healthier, more prosperous Commonwealth, Harrisburg Republicans have started a war on women’s health and now they’re attacking committed LGBT couples and families all over the country.”

Josephs has introduced legislation to recognize gay marriage in Pa.

Philadelphia’s City Paper quoted EqualityPA’s Ted Martin, who suggested a different motive for the bill: presidential year politics. “People know this kind of stuff incites a certain base of people. But I think there are people who are really true believers, who see Pennsylvania slowly being surrounded by states with marriage equality,” which alarms them.

Martin argues that the amendment is “more restrictive” than it seems. “It would outlaw any discussion of domestic partnership benefits and civil unions in Pennsylvania,” he said.

In any case, it’s a real long shot. An amendment to the Pa. Constitution must pass both chambers of the General Assembly during two consecutive sessions and then pass a public referendum until 2014.

6 Responses

  1. “The institution of traditional marriage has never been under greater attack,” said Metcalfe—-

    Why? Aren’t there enough problems with “traditional” marriage? Abusive husbands, estrangements, divorces…I’m pretty sure that my partner’s sister, who was beaten enough to be sent to the hospital with a broken back, is in a “traditional” marriage and it’s not going all that great. She wept over Christmas because her dad went and got her out of that situation, and said her “family wasn’t together” because a man who stuck her in the hospital was far, far away, like he should have been for her own safety. He came a thousand miles up to get her, and they’re living together, in the projects while he whines about his “pain” problems while they both pop vicodin just to get through their days.

    And yet, the fact that my partner and I have shared a loving home and raised a beautiful, smart, and happy daughter is an “attack” on “traditional” marriage. I say it’s hogwash and to use religion as your basis for bigotry is one of the ugliest things to come from religion. Just because you don’t agree with it does NOT mean that you can disqualify an entire subgroup of people from the LEGAL rights given to the rest of the nation.

    All I want, is to be able to share my legal rights with my partner, and to have a non-religious ceremony that our families can attend to once and for all officially state us as being one soul in two bodies. If my battered should-be-sister-in-law can have the right to have her husband there while she gives birth to her kids, then why the hell was I given dirty looks for being there when mine had ours? Why can’t I share the same insurance, pay taxes as a joint member, and be at her side if she’s ever hospitalized?

  2. It really does my heart good to read these comments. The country is evolving. The GOP is regressing.

  3. @K & Scott: Which is why it’s so believable when Santorum says he has kin in Alabama!

  4. @K in VA: there’s long been a saying that Pennsylvania is a state with Pittsburgh on one side, Philadelphia on the other, and Alabama in the middle. Having grown up in the state I have to say that’s sometimes all too true.

  5. I think this quote is appropriate:
    “Those who seek marriage equality are not asking others to have less traditional marriages. They are, however, challenging people who want to exclude an entire group of people from marriage by claiming that their “traditional” marriage is dependent on keeping others from getting marrying.”

    Simply disliking gay people is not a legal basis for discriminating against them. I’d really love for State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe to explain how the marriage of a gay couple (that you don’t even know) will harm society, other marriages or families.

  6. As a northerner currently trapped in a southern state, I have to ask:

    Pennsylvania, why the hell are you trying so hard to act like Alabama?

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