PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Gay rights advocates hope the Supreme Court’s decision moves Pennsylvania a step closer to marriage equality.
“I think it’s going to be odd for people to be recognized in some states but not in others, so I think in some respect the state’s hand is going to be forced,” says Christine Bryan of the Delta Foundation.
Bryan says with gay marriage in nearby states like New York and Maryland, Pennsylvania will get there eventually, but she says the focus first should be to end discrimination against gays.
“Just outside Allegheny County, for example, you can be fired for being gay. In Butler, Beaver, Fayette, right outside the county, you can be thrown out of your apartment,” adds Bryan.
Pa. Rep. Dan Frankel, a Squirrel Hill Democrat, says before marriage equality is considered the state needs to pass his bill (H.B. 300) to make it illegal to discriminate anywhere in Pennsylvania based on sexual orientation.
“This decision by the Supreme Court today adds a lot of energy and a lot of momentum to what we need to do to bring Pennsylvania into the full embrace of equal rights for all its citizens,” says Frankel.
But not so fast, says Pa. Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, a Cranberry Republican.
Metcalfe says the court decision improves chances of passing his constitutional amendment allowing marriage only between a man and a woman.
“They’re going to make our citizens now pay as federal taxpayers to support an immoral lifestyle, immoral behavior, that some states, some very liberal states, have chosen,” says Metcalfe.
Metcalfe says voters, not judges, should decide who gets to marry, but Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald says the tide has turned.
“You’re going to see the legislature, whether they want to or not, they’re going to have to deal with this issue because their constituents demand it,” notes Fitzgerald.
Nobody expects the legislature to do much of anything very quickly.
Neither Frankel nor Metcalfe has sufficient votes yet to pass their very opposing bills.
That makes it more likely that those for or against gay marriage will need to turn up the pressure in the 2014 legislative elections.
Gov. Corbett — through a spokesperson — says he continues to oppose gay marriage, believing marriage is only between a man and a woman.
That means no marriage equality for gays in Pennsylvania as long as Corbett remains governor.
Supreme Court Strikes Down Federal Marriage Provision (6/26/13)
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