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.”


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!

SB 1250 put on Judiciary Committee Calendar for this Tuesday, March 11!

March 4, 2008

The “Marriage Protection Amendment,” which is legislation to amend the PA constitution to define marriage as solely between one man and one woman, and prohibit civil unions, has been placed on the Judiciary Committee calendar for this Tuesday, March 11.

So that means we have just ONE week to really make our voices heard for the millions of Pennsylvanians who are opposed to this proposed amendment!  See the post below for many different action steps, but what we really need is for people to CALL their Senators, especially those who serve on the Judiciary Committee, and ask them to oppose SB 1250!

Here is a list of Judiciary Committee members, their district office phone numbers, and the counties they represent.  If you live in one of these counties, PLEASE call your Senator and ask them to oppose SB 1250!

Stewart Greenleaf, Chair.  (215) 657-7700.  Bucks, Montgomery

Mary Jo White, Vice Chair.  (814) 432-4345.  Erie, Warren, Forest, Venango, Clarion

Jay Costa, Minority Chair.  (412) 241-6690.  Allegheny

Joseph Scarnati, Leadership.  (814) 726-7201.  Cameron, Clearfield, Elk, Jefferson, McKean, Potter, Tioga, Warren

Pat Browne.  (610) 821-8468.  Lehigh, Northampton, Monroe

Jane Earll.  (814) 453-2515.  Erie

John Gordner.  (570) 784-3464.  Dauphin, Snyder, Northumberland, Montour, Columbia, Luzerne

Jane Orie.  (412) 630-9466.  Allegheny, Butler

Jeffrey Piccola.  (717) 896-7714.  Dauphin

John Rafferty.  (610) 831-8830.  Montgomery, Chester, Bucks

Lisa Boscola.  (610) 868-8667.  Monroe, Northampton, Lehigh

Wayne Fontana.  (412) 344-2551.  Allegheny

Michael Stack.  (215) 281-2539.  Philadelphia

Barry Stout.  (724) 225-5400.  Allegheny, Beaver, Greene, Washington, Westmoreland

“Marriage Protection Amendment” in Judiciary Committee!

March 1, 2008

I apologize for the small number of posts this past month, I have been out of the office recovering from a pretty nasty health issue—but as we’ve all seen, even when we have to take a break, the world keeps turning.

And unfortunately a lot has happened the past several weeks.  As most of you have seen, Senate Bill 1250, the “Marriage Protection Amendment,” has been introduced and referred to the Judiciary Committee.  This bill is yet another attempt to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to define marriage as solely between one man and one woman, and prohibit civil unions, among other forms of relationship recognition.  The bill currently has 18 co-sponsors.

Now that the bill is sitting in the Judiciary Committee, we need everyone to really step up and take action to stop this legislation!  The legislature is out of session and in budget hearings until March 10, which means a lot of your State Senators will be in their district offices— a perfect opportunity for you to stop-in for a visit and let them know how you feel about this bill.

The absolute most effective way to make your voice heard is to meet, face-to-face, with your legislators about this issue.  You know those in support of this bill are sitting down with their Senators, and if they do not hear from us, they’ll have no reason to oppose this bill!

For information on setting up a meeting with your law-makers, click here.

For talking points on Senate Bill 1250, click here.

To send an e-mail to your Senator asking them to oppose this bill, click here.

It only takes 30 seconds to send an e-mail, and you really can have an impact.  That said, it only takes 5 minutes to make a phone call, and only slightly more time to make a visit. If you have ANY questions about going to meet with your Senator about this, just e-mail Jake.

With your actions, with thousands of other fair-minded Pennsylvanians, we will once again successfully defeat this amendment!

Statewide Week of Action!

January 27, 2008

This week we’ve been working with our partnered organizations and activists all-across Pennsylvania to better engage our amazing supporters in advocacy to improve the lives of LGBT people in the state.

We have a ton of very exciting things happening throughout the state this week, all with the goal of moving pro-LGBT legislation forward in the state.

Equality Advocates is taking an active role during the Week of Action and providing several opportunities for activism:

Sunday, January 27– SNAP Advocacy Workshop at York College of Pennsylvania, 6:00-8:00pm (students only)

Monday, January 28– Volunteer Night in our Philadelphia Office, 5:30-7:30 pm

Tuesday, January 29– People of Faith Lobby Day in Harrisburg, 10:00- 3:00 pm

Tuesday, January 29– Liberty City Volunteer Night in our Philadelphia Office, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Additionally, we’re asking our supporters to call, e-mail and visit their State Representatives to advocate for the successful passage of House Bill 1400, legislation that would prohibit discrimination against LGBT people in employment, housing, and public accomodations.

For more information on HB 1400, and ways to become involved, click here.

For more information on any of the above events, just e-mail Jake.

Stop the “Marriage Protection Amendment!!!”

January 27, 2008

They’re at it again. On Thursday, January 17, State Senators began work to introduce a “Marriage Protection Amendment” that would define marriage as solely between one man and one woman, and prohibit civil unions.

With all the legislative priorities in Harrisburg, this amendment is the last thing our Senators need to be working on. Please take a moment to call and e-mail your State Senator and ask them NOT to co-sponsor this amendment.

To send an e-mail and for more information, click here.