Breaking: State Rep. Brian Sims to introduce marriage equality bill
In light of yesterday’s Supreme Court decisions which overruled the federal Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 in California, state Rep. Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia) has told Philadelphia Weekly that he will introduce a bill to legalize LGBT marriage in Pennsylvania.
“About two hours ago, I shopped around a co-sponsorship memo for a marriage bill, and I’m going to introduce an LGBT marriage equality bill,” he says, adding the Supreme Court cases “helped light the fire under my colleagues to do it now.”
The co-sponsorship memo, which is sent out to House members for additional support, notes it “would re-define the definition of marriage as a civil contract between two people who enter into matrimony, and eliminate the current prohibition against same-sex marriage in our Commonwealth. It is important to note that this bill provides protections for religious organizations and entities that do not wish to sanction, perform, or in any way recognize such marriages.”
Sims, the first openly-gay legislator ever elected in Pennsylvania history, has sent around the memo alongside state Rep. Stephen McCarter (D-Montgomery). The bill would make Pennsylvania’s laws similar to those of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.
State Sen. Daylin Leach has introduced a gay marriage bill in the Senate, SB 719. Leach noted in his memo earlier this year that current marriage law in Pennsylvania is “archaic protocol which treats an entire class of citizens as second-class.” State Rep. Mark Cohen has also introduced a civil unions bill in the House, though Sims and McCarter’s legislation would be the first gay marriage bill in that chamber of the Legislature this year.
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