Anti-Gay Marriage Memo Circulates Harrisburg with Fanfare
State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe of Butler County has recently circulated a memo noting that he intends to introduce legislation during the 2013-2014 session that would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
“This constitutional amendment will eliminate confusion as to what constitutes a legal marriage, and it will also designate marriage as the only type of union that will be legally recognized in Pennsylvania,” he writes in the memo. “Marriage is a common good, not a special interest. Special interests should not have the right to redefine marriage for all of us.”
Metcalfe introduced similar legislation last session, and an anti-gay marriage bill was actually passed by the Pennsylvania House in 2006 by a large majority — but never moved on to the state senate and (of course) would not have been signed by Governor Rendell.
While gay rights nationwide have seen several state-level successes recently — gay marriage was legalized in Maine and Maryland by popular voter majorities in the 2012 elections — Pennsylvania is one of the only Northeastern states that does not recognize any sort of marriage or civil-union rights for the LGBT community.
The anti-gay-marriage group the American Family Association of Pennsylvania sent its members an “Action Alert” email this morning, urging them to call their state representatives in support of the Metcalfe memo. “Homosexual activists are unrelenting in their march towards ‘marriage equality.’ Meaning they will not be satisfied until same-sex ‘marriage’ has been legalized across the country.”
(The AFA of PA regularly puts the words “marriage” and “gay” in quotations when talking about the rights of the LGBT community, a tactic used by demagogues across the Internet to imply that neither gay people nor gay marriage are real things.)
Polls have regularly showed that Pennsylvanians support gay rights, though whether the state would vote yes on a gay marriage referendum remains up in the air. After President Obama came out for gay marriage during the presidential campaign, Politico opined that the move was risky, considering that majorities in politically divided “swing states” like Ohio and Pennsylvania (both of which Obama ultimately won) did not support gay marriage rights. That support has been slowly growing over the last few years, though, and the number of local Pennsylvania municipalities currently backing same-sex civil unions and hate crime laws is now at a record high for the state. In June, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party held a state committee meeting and voted to add support of gay marriage to its platform.