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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Pennsylvania Ban on Gay Marriage

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives will soon vote on amending the Commonwealth Constitution to "protect" marriage by banning gay marriage.

On February 28, I sent this letter to our State Rep. Grell and Senator Vance:

I cannot tell you how appalled I am over the effort of so many state legislators to get an amendment passed to "protect" marriage by banning gays from the legal right to be married.

Marriage between heterosexuals doesn't need to be protected from homosexuals - most straight people screw up their own marriages quite well on their own.

Can someone explain to me why gays are expected to work, pay taxes and be good citizens, but not to be able to have the same rights as others?

This country really hasn't learn too much from history, has it? It hasn't been all that long since women were given the right to vote. It's been 143 years since the Emancipation Proclamation, and yet a 102 years afterwards the march from Selma to Montgomery, AL, had to take place.

The only "Gay Agenda" homosexuals have is the basic right to pursue their own happiness! It is incredibly mean-spirited and narrow-minded to deny them this.

I did not hear from Rep. Grell, but I did get a letter back from Senator Vance:

Thank you for your recent correspondence on the proposed marriage amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution.

I believe that the institution of marriage is only for a man and a woman. This is currently reflected in Pennsylvania law (23 Pa.C.S. §1704), which I supported when it was enacted in 1996.

Amending the Constitution is a serious matter and great care should be exercised in crafting amendments. I have not yet seen the specifics of Senator Regola's proposal. However, questions have been raised about additional language that may go beyond the protection of marriage and affect the rights of many citizens.

I am not interested in hurting people because they are different than me. I would be unable to support language that could be interpreted to limit the rights of unmarried individuals with regard to hospital visitations, medical decision making, private health coverage or contractual agreements.

Your input on this important public policy issue is very much appreciated.

I just sent a reply to her response:

In your response to me, you stated that "I believe that the institution of marriage is only for a man and a woman."

Lest you say that I am splitting hairs or arguing semantics, your use of the word "believe" speaks volumes to me. It is a Freudian slip, if you will, that clearly shows to me where your train of thought is coming from.

You were elected as a representative of the LAW, not a representative of any particular FAITH. Can you honestly tell me that you have a logical, legal reason for making such a statement? Or are you speaking from a point of view that originates from the Bible?

I do not think that you can do so. To me, the ban on Gay marriage is no different than the ban on black-white marriages of the past. It is discrimination, plain and simple.

I am a lifelong Democrat that has been voting for you for many, many years. I will do so no longer.

Unfortunately, the gay marriage ban is expected to pass without any trouble. Hopefully it will be challenged in a court of law and overturned.


At 7:22 AM, Blogger Doug said...

What has happened in people's brains? Unfortunately, a constitutional amendment probably can't be challenged in court once adopted. Throwing the bums out, on the other hand, gives you a chance to reverse it.

Was the "g" in "grafted" her mis-spelling? If so, that speaks volumes to me.

At 7:33 AM, Blogger dddragon said...

it should read "crafting". I scanned her letter and used the OCR to convert it to text. I didn't look it over for mistakes. It's funny that it took Senator Regola's name w/o change, but made craft into graft.

I'll correct it now . . .

At 7:52 AM, Blogger sherle said...

3d, I've learned it is not 'marriage' same sex couples want... but legality of their togetherness. I knew this but it was good to have the fact reaffirmed by somebody who is in the position to want that legality.

At 9:15 AM, Blogger AP3 said...

Thanks for writing the letters.

I love that he wrote, "I am not interested in hurting people because they are different than me. I would be unable to support language that could be interpreted to limit the rights of unmarried individuals with regard to hospital visitations, medical decision making, private health coverage or contractual agreements."

By denying same sex legal marriage, you ARE hurting people in all those ways! Get a clue. Until there is federal same sex marriage recognition, those of us in same sex marriages are missing many of the biggest benefits. We can't get Social Security benefits for our spouse, all sorts of stuff. There are certain things that we have in Massachusetts, where same sex marriage is legal, that are "ruined" by the fact that our marriage doesn't count to the feds. We can't file our federal taxes together. I could get health insurance through Me Wonder Woman Pez now, BUT we'd both get taxed on this by the feds! All sorts of rights we thought we'd have are really not quite there for us, all because the federal government doesn't recognize the marriage. It's NOT marriage equality, even here in Massachusetts.

At 9:50 AM, Blogger Sar said...

*standing and applauding loudly*

3D - I am so very proud of you and impressed by your letters.

My favorite of your impressive lines was "Marriage between heterosexuals doesn't need to be protected from homosexuals - most straight people screw up their own marriages quite well on their own."

There are many facets to this issue, but you managed to boil it down succinctly and eloquently to the core - gay marriage does not inflict harm on anyone and to fight to stop it is discrimination, plain and simple. And frankly the thought that laws are being enacted to promote discrimiation in America in 2006 is beyond appauling.

You should see about having the letters published as editorials in your local/state papers. They were elected to represent their constituents and you being one have spoken only to be silenced to their own personal beliefs. That is wrong and it needs to be shared.

At 10:08 AM, Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...

You know, this entire debate fascinates me. Because, as you point out, it is a question of belief or faith and not one of law. As I've said
, the only reason to ban gay marriage would be if it had a negative impact on the legal situation in our country.

It can be pointed out that rape, murder, incest are all things that will negatively impact us. But they have a tougher time selling that about gay marriage.

At 12:15 PM, Blogger Tan Lucy Pez said...

Thanks for writing the letters. I wrote and also called these people. Grell is voting for the amendment too. Jerks.

At 2:14 PM, Blogger Jemima said...

Thank you for being bothered enough to write the letters.

In England now "same sex relationships" are recognised, but it's still a form of segregation. I've always hoped there could be a non-religious way of recognising relationships, that people could have a set of rights regardless of who they fall in love with, but I guess I'm being horribly naive. Silly me.

At 3:50 PM, Blogger Yesrie said...

{{{bangs head on desk}}}

Thanks for writing the letters :-}

I can't even imagine what these chuckleheads are afraid of. How would hetero marriages be jeopardized? {{{resumes banging}}}


At 6:14 PM, Blogger Karen said...

WOW! WOW! WOW! Great letters!!

sooooooooooooooooooooo PROUD OF YOU!! You Go Girl!!!

At 6:49 PM, Blogger actonbell said...

Wonderful job with the letters!
I would echo most of what's already been said--these lawmakers are a totally unenlightened crowd. Sad.

At 6:50 PM, Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

I applaud you for writing the letters.
That's our right and duty as citizens to speak up for what we think.
Then, we use our power at the voting booth.

At 7:33 PM, Blogger Minka said...

We have the same issue running here at the moment. It is mostly on governmental and a religious level that homosexuality is a problem here. Society has accepted homosexuality a long time ago. One bar (22) here is one of the best places to hang out when partying-it´s a gay club that has no problem with heterosexual people showing up!
In Icelandic Idol, one of the three judges is the Gay guy of Iceland...his name is Pall Oskar and he is fantabulous.
As you pointed out, what matters in people is their worth to society, if they are a good exemplar of the human race. What people do in their bedrooms is non of my business.
Money and energy should be spent on issues like rape, murder and abuse...that are things that influence our society to a bad degree.
Why do we always have to fight such huge battles for things that should be nothing but ordinary?!

At 10:20 PM, Blogger Doug said...

The whole "protecting the institution of marriage" line infuriates me. No-one could possibly believe that crap. The religious angle infuriates me as a Christian. I can't think of anything more contrary to the Judeo-Christian tradition than the idea that the laws we pass can make profane what's sacred or sanctify profanity. Bunch of lying sons-of-bitches out there.

At 1:38 AM, Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

Feel free to steal any or all of the bible passages I posted about a few days ago. If you like, I can even dig up some bible passages that advocate mass murder, baby killing, slavery, hoarding of power at all costs, dictatorships, touture, and lots more!

I totally FAIL to see how same sex marriage would effect me in the slightest. I doubt it would cause me to stop checking out chicks and start checking out dudes. Really now - the idea that gay marriage would hurt anything is just plain silly.

At 5:53 PM, Blogger Marti said...

I think state legislatures have all gone insane. I read a horrifying piece about proposals for my state, including declaring a "Chriatian Deity" for Missouri! Dear God! (the one who serves ALL faiths LOL) I put a link to the newspaper article in a post on Monday, and I also wrote to every one of my state representatives, but have not gotten a response from any of them.

I feel like we are on a terrible road to a police state here - it frightens me.

Congratulations to you for having the courage to speak up!

Best wishes for a wonderful St. Patrick's Day tomorrow.


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