Pittsburgh Blog for Equality Day!

March 31, 2008

The friendly folks out in ‘da ‘Burgh are really fantastic and today held what I believe is the first-ever Pennsylvania-centric Blog for Equality Day!

Bloggers together, in one voice, stepped up to voice their opposition to the Marriage Protection Amendment. Some spoke from personal experience, others spoke of inequality and the Pennsylvania we want to see— but they all together committed to spreading information about this legislation and educating their readers on how to make their own voices heard.

Major kudos to Pittsburgh Lesbian Correpondents for bringing this all together. For a complete list of participating blogs, just click here.


Papers across Pennsylvania SLAM SB 1250!

March 29, 2008

Erie Times-News
March 28, 2008 Editorial “State Marriage Amendment Unnecessary”

“As Pennsylvanians have certainly noticed, the state Legislature didn’t get around to passing a smoking ban, property-tax reform, health-care reform, equitable funding for education issues, and so forth. But the Senate Judiciary Committee members did find time to debate and vote on Senate Bill 1250, the marriage amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution…We have to wonder why 10 senators would try to push a constitutional amendment that seems unnecessary and undoable. It looks like an effort to curry favor with the agendas of some religious groups and others. Meanwhile, major issues such as health care and education remain on the sidelines.”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
March 22, 2008 Editorial “Marriage Mischief: Another Attempt to put Bigotry in the Constitution”

“When it comes to the continuing attempt to make the Pennsylvania Constitution explicitly say that marriage is between one man and one woman, it is hard to say what is worse — the obsession or the waste of time. Can we now assume that the Legislature has adequately addressed the issues important to most Pennsylvanians? For example, has it taken all the steps needed to reform itself? Has it enacted comprehensive property tax reform? How about equitable funding for education? The answer, of course, is ‘no.'”


Beaver County Times
March 23, 2008 Editorial “A Gay Time”

“The state Senate Judiciary Committee last week voted 10-4 to send to the full Senate a proposal that would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to ban gay marriages and civil unions. We know, we know. Despite soaring gasoline prices, skyrocketing home heating oil costs, escalating grocery bills, a tanking economy, Wall Street gyrations, home foreclosures, the fifth year of the Iraq occupation and a fascinating presidential Democratic primary, gay marriages and civil unions are what everybody has been talking about. Never mind that state lawmakers refuse to tackle mundane issues like adequately funding the state’s crumbling roads and bridges, helping municipalities upgrade their aging water and sewer lines, fixing the state’s inequitable school funding formula or doing something about the commonwealth’s excess of small municipalities and school districts.”

The Morning Call
March 19, 2008 Blog Posting by State House Reporter John L. Micek

“As if the bill itself isn’t goofy enough (it also includes a ban on civil unions), the committee held just one public hearing on it (Monday) before reporting the bill out to the full Senate on Tuesday. We’ll also point out this action came in the age of alleged reform where the public is supposed to get plenty of time to vet and review legislation.”

Philadelphia City Paper
March 13, 2008 Pandering Guide

“The problem: Gay marriage is illegal in Pennsylvania. And the situation might get worse. Two years ago, a bill was proposed in the State House that would amend the state constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage and civil unions. The House is voting on Bill 1250 this month. If it passes, there could be serious side effects in Philadelphia, which has concocted a slew of marketing campaigns to attract LGBTQ folks (and their money).”

Lancaster Intelligencer Journal
February 28, 2008 “Red Herrings, In Our View”

“To listen to some local politicians this year, the two biggest problems facing Pennsylvania are gay marriage and denying gun rights to people who want to pack heat while taking a leisurely walk through
county parks. Welcome to fantasy land. In fact, Pennsylvania faces a mountain of problems, but some legislators and legislative candidates seem more interested in spreading ideology than in solving problems.”


York Dispatch
March 25, 2008 Editorial

“If any timely words of wisdom could be imparted to the state Senate in this time of partisan sniping at the state and national level amid concerns over healthcare reform, highway maintenance and onerous
property taxation, they would be: Stick to important business. But as usual, such caution is wasted in the political wind. So the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, with a pile of important issues on its plate, in a 10-4 vote decided it was time to amend the state Constitution by banning gay and lesbian marriage — and halt those looming threats to civilization, civil unions, in their tracks…A suggestion to those who claim the commonwealth may not survive unless the state Constitution is so amended: not now.” Instead, in the face of election pressures, show some backbone and deal with the ever-growing problem of school property taxes and commensurate education funding. Deal with the rising cost of health care for all Pennsylvanians and put some effort into ensuring this state has a safe and modern transportation system. Marriage, traditionally, has done quite well in protecting itself down the centuries. Any legislative alterations can wait, for a very, very long time.”

Lancaster Intelligencer Journal
March 20, 2008 article by Jeff Hawkes, “The Curious Rush to Ban Gay Marriage”

“Speed should not be of the essence when contemplating a change to the constitution, the bedrock of principles upon which a democracy is built. Yet the Republican-controlled state Senate, known for dragging its feet on festering problems Pennsylvanians want fixed — from burdensome property taxes to the high cost of health insurance for the working poor — has put the pedal to the metal in trying to amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage once and for all…The primary effect of the amendment would be to make gays and lesbians second-class citizens. It’ll be Pennsylvania’s loss when that message of intolerance causes couples to move to states where they’re valued. But beyond the basic unfairness of the proposed amendment is the specter of unintended consequences resulting from the wording of the bill itself.”

Support Equality Advocates while enjoying “Mom, I’m Gay!” at the Painted Bride!

March 19, 2008

Wilfre’ Records and Publishers is generously supporting Equality Advocates with their upcoming production of “Mom, I’m Gay!” at the Painted Bride Art Center from March 20-22, 2008.

For every $30 ticket sold, a portion of the ticket sale will be donated to Equality Advocates to support our mission and work statewide.

“Mom, I’m Gay!” is billed as a dramatic musical comedy about a mother’s pursuit to find a husband for her lesbian daughter. Showtimes are Thursday and Friday at 8:00pm, and Saturday at 3:00 and 8:00pm.

The Painted Bride Art Center is located at 230 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA. To purchase tickets with a credit card by telephone and for group discounts, call the Painted Bride Art Center box office at (215) 925-9914.

Come out with your friends and family for a night of exciting musical theater and help support our work as well!


BREAKING: Marriage Protection Amendment Reported Out of Senate Judiciary Committee!

March 19, 2008

Today the Senate Judiciary Committee reported Senate Bill 1250, the Marriage Protection Amendment, out of committee by a 10-4 vote.  The Marriage Protection Amendment would define marriage as solely between one man and one woman, and prohibit civil unions.

Voting in favor of this legislation was:  Sen. Greenleaf, Sen. Scarnati, Sen. Gordner, Sen. Orie,  Sen. Piccola, Sen. Rafferty, Sen. Boscola, Sen. Stack, Sen. Stout, and Sen. White.   If one of your Senators voted to move this bill out of committee, please take a moment to call them and express your disappointment with their vote.

Voting against this legislation was:  Sen. Browne, Sen. Costa, Sen. Earll, and Sen. Fontana.  If one of your Senators voted against moving this bill out of committee, please call to thank them for their vote.

The bill now moves to the Appropriations Committee before it moves to the floor for a vote by the entire Senate.

We need you now more than ever to call your Senators and ask them to OPPOSE SENATE BILL 1250!  They need to hear from fair-minded people in their districts.  To find your Senator’s contact information, please click here.

Save the Date- Upcoming Events in Philadelphia!

March 17, 2008

I really enjoy the spring and summer months in this job. People are out, things are happening, there’s a buzz in the air– AND I get to criss-cross the state meeting thousands of fabulous LGBT and allied people at pride events and parties!

These months are also a very busy time of year for everyone, and before your social calendars become completely full, I wanted to draw your attention to just a few upcoming events in Philly over the next two months.

12th Anniversary Event and Fundraiser! Each year we celebrate our successes and raise money to continue the work we’re doing statewide, and this year our anniversary event will be held on Thursday, May 8. Our new and absolutely fantastic Development Coordinator Michael is working hard to make this year’s event the best it’s ever been, so this is one fundraiser you won’t want to miss. We’ll post more details and information on how to RSVP in the coming weeks.

Equality Forum! Every year, thousands of LGBT people from across the country, and the world, descend upon Philadelphia for a week of workshops, forums, parties and events at the annual Equality Forum. This year Equality Advocates is working closely with the great folks at Equality Forum on several events that you don’t want to miss. Katie Stewart, our Youth Law Project Attorney and resident cool-kid will be co-presenting an entire day of Youth Programming on Saturday, May 3. That same day I’ll be presenting a workshop on how to effectively advocate for LGBT issues in your community.

That night, we are co-sponsoring a statewide reception with Liberty PA at Pure Nightclub with special guests U.S. Representatives Murphy and Sestak. This will be a fabulous event and amazing chance to network with engaged activists from across the region and state.

Additionally, we will have a table at the street-fest on Sunday, May 4 and need volunteers to help us man the table.

These are just a few of the very exciting events coming down the line in the coming months, so keep checking back for more information!


York College Students Meet With Representative

March 5, 2008

NOTE FROM JAKE: This is a guest post from Cody Barnett, one of our most-fabulous activists at York College of Pennsylvania. He and several other students have worked on-campus over the past several weeks, raising awareness about statewide LGBT issues, and recently met with their own State Representative.


I and four other York College students had the pleasure of sitting down with State Representative Eugene De Pasquale (D) Tuesday March 4, to discuss his involvement with HB 1400 and SB 1250, and to present to him over 200 signed form letters that we collected during a three day tabling event held at York College of Pennsylvania. Between the five of us, we represented two distinct groups on campus, YCP Lambda (the Gay Straight Alliance) and Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. This is the second time we have collaborated on a project to foster interaction between our two groups, and our relationship is one of the strongest on campus. De Pasquale was genuinely interested and spoke to us with respect and interest, as we conveyed to him our biggest concerns coming into the 2008 Presidential Election, and our growing concern for laws originating in the Pennsylvania Legislature aimed at reducing the legal rights for the LGBT community.


The best part about meeting with Representative De Pasquale was the feeling of genuine conviction for what he was doing that gushed from him as he shared personal stories about how his life has been positively impacted by LGBT people. De Pasquale also confided with us his belief that LGBT rights are a generational issue, one that in time within our lives will fade from the hot button issue it is today, to a completely accepted facet of life. I can honestly say that I’m proud to be served by a man of such high convictions and beliefs in Harrisburg as Representative Eugene De Pasquale


UPDATE: SB 1250 now on the calendar for Tuesday, March 18!

March 5, 2008

Just to again highlight the fluidity of the situation, Senate Bill 1250 is now slated to be discussed in the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, March 18.

That means we now have TWO weeks to e-mail, call, and visit our State Senators and ask them to OPPOSE this legislation!