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Pa. Senate to vote on amendment



Published: Tue, May 6, 2008 @ 12:00 a.m.

Pennsylvania law already defines marriage as a union between a man and woman.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The stage is set for the full Pennsylvania Senate to vote on a constitutional amendment that would outlaw same-sex marriage and civil unions in the state, although chances appear slim it will gain traction in the House.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the measure in an 18-8 vote Monday after a 30-minute debate. Moments after it passed, more than 100 people rallied in the Capitol against the amendment.

Officials say a vote in the full Senate is possible as early as Tuesday’s floor session. Approval by the Republican-controlled Senate would be the first step in a multiyear process that is required before a proposed constitutional amendment can be brought to voters in a statewide referendum.

The Senate action, however, may be largely symbolic. No similar bill has been introduced in the House, and Republican proponents of the measure say there is little chance of getting it through the Democratic-controlled chamber.

After the Appropriations Committee vote, opponents of the measure gathered in the Capitol Rotunda, hoisting signs and cheering legislators who showed up to speak against it.

“It is nothing more and nothing less than bigotry,” Sen. Jim Ferlo, D-Allegheny, told the crowd. “Let’s call it what it is.”

Pennsylvania law already defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, but proponents of the amendment, including religious and conservative values groups, say writing the ban into the constitution will prevent a judge from overturning the law or opening the door to civil unions between gays and lesbians.

Sen. John Gordner, R-Columbia, who spoke for the measure in the Appropriations Committee, insisted it is not intended to take away any rights, such as employer health care benefits, that some gays enjoy now. He added that no appellate court in the 18 other states that have approved similar language to this measure has taken away rights from gays.

However, Sen. Vince Fumo, D-Philadelphia, told Gordner that while he may not intend it to take away rights from gays, there are supporters of the measure who will try to use it to do so.

The earliest any voter referendum on the measure could happen is in 2009. Before that, it must get approval from both the House and Senate in two consecutive two-year sessions.


Comments

1knucles518(39 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

I am very disturbed that law makers feel they have the right to tell people who they can marry and love in life. In the constitution of the United States of America it clearly states "All men are created equal." Why is it so difficult for our government to take these words for what they mean, rather than read into it any further. Their political games remind me of orginized religion. I've heard many preachers stand behind the pulpit and talk badly about anything they consider un-holy. Well my idea is as follows. Until someone I meet has spoken to the man who has all the answers there is no right and wrong. We need to take everybody's feelings into account on this issue, and let them love who they love. Including marry who they want to marry.

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2Woody(451 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

It does not clearly state in the Constitution that "All men are created equal." That line is no where in the Constitution. If you are going to quote historical documents, at least get the source right. That phrase is found in the Declaration of Independence.

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