Pennsylvania State Representative Dan Frankel (D- Allegheny) released a statement on the proposed state constitutional amendment. Frankel is a long time LGBT ally and, unlike several of his colleagues, recognizes that there are greater threats to Pennsylvania's families than homosexuals. Things like the economy, property tax reform, education, healthy care and so forth.
You tell 'em Dan.
Rep. Frankel Blasts Constitutional Amendment – 1/24/2006
State Rep. Dan B. Frankel
MEDIA CONTACT: Ben Turner
House Democratic Communications Office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Frankel blasts constitutional amendment
Says it would harm unmarried straight couples, including seniors
HARRISBURG, Jan. 24 – State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, said a state
constitutional amendment being introduced today would harm same-sex
families and unmarried opposite-sex couples, including many senior
citizens. Sponsors of the amendment say it would prevent Pennsylvania
judges from authorizing same-sex marriage.
“The sponsors of the so-called 'marriage protection' amendment are using
gay-baiting, which is bad enough, to hide a wider agenda. State law has
banned legal recognition of same-sex marriage for the past 10 years.
It's ironic that a group of mostly Republican legislators is telling
everyone not to trust Republican judges, including the
Republican-majority state Supreme Court,” Frankel said.
The sweeping language of the amendment would ban civil unions and other
legal recognition of unmarried relationships. Frankel said it could
threaten the rights of adoptive parents, as well as health coverage,
medical decision-making rights and inheritance rights. The amendment
also could harm senior citizens who do not marry their partners to avoid
losing Social Security or pension benefits.
“In Ohio, a similar amendment has caused domestic violence cases with
unmarried straight victims to be thrown out – pursuing those cases was
found to be 'legal recognition' of the unmarried relationship. In
Michigan, anti-gay activists are suing to take away health coverage,
even though before the amendment passed, they said those benefits
wouldn't be threatened.
“The supporters of this amendment need to read the state Supreme Court's
2004 ruling in the Devlin case about Philadelphia's domestic-partner
registry. The court clearly stated the partnership registry was only
permitted because it is something less than and distinct from civil
“This amendment should be put aside so we can focus on bills that
actually help people, like property tax reform, raising the minimum wage
after nine years, improving our economy and our schools and making
affordable health care available to everyone.
“The federal and state constitutions should not be used to take rights
away from law-abiding citizens. Our national and state constitutions are
the bulwarks that protect the rights of all citizens.”
Frankel is the lead sponsor of legislation (H.B. 1417
would allow unmarried partners in same-sex or opposite-sex relationships
to make critical health decisions for one another and to visit each
other in the hospital. A 2003 poll
percent support in Pennsylvania for such legislation, and last week,
Maryland's Republican governor announced his support for a similar bill.