A lot to impart so bear with me.
First, the hearing. If you cannot attend, you can submit written testimony. This comes from Sue Frietsche, Pittsburgh's Women's Law Project go-to-woman. I am still trying to determine if you can email it. Ledcat and I are working on a joint letter.
It can be in letter form, addressed to Senator Greenleaf at: Senate Judiciary Committee, Main Capitol Building, Harrisburg PA 17120, and it should be entitled, “Testimony of [your name] on Senate Bill 1250”.
So, that's one critical piece of information and just proves that it is sometimes worth kicking up the dirt to find the flowers. Thus, if you cannot attend, you have no reason not to let your voice be heard on this important issue. It doesn't have to be profound or anything like that. Just write.
Second, I've mentioned my concerns about the “information dissemination” process around this legislation. I shared my concerns with local and statewide LGBT advocacy folks. Most agree that a dearth of resources are part of the problem. Stacey Sobel of Equality Advocates gave me a lot of insight into the process. I suspect, like many situations, it boils down to communication. The fact that I received at least 13 copies of the hearing notice (including a few today) does not offset the fact that it took four days to get the information in the first place. Creating another group or setting up another website is not the answer. We have to find a better way for advocacy groups to get the word out here in Pittsburgh — it is *our* responsibility to make it happen.
Finally, I hope you caught the letters to the editor in today's Post-Gazette. One is from a long (very long) time friend of mine, Keith Bajura. His optimism is buoying amidst all this hearing hoopla:
Furthermore, marriage equality is going to happen. With our society becoming ever more accepting that homosexuality is a normal human trait such as having green eyes or being left-handed, the next generation will struggle even less with the issue than we do today. In fact, five countries of the world currently allow same-sex marriage.
Maybe we can get back to basics and remember that this country was founded on the equality of all people. It is only constitutional and only American that we offer marriage to all people — gay or straight.
Then there is Marilyn Reed of Pine (where is Pine?) who hasn't been paying attention to the facts. She claims that this amendment won't impact domestic partner benefits. Then she trots out the worn out “Let the People decide!” argument. Sigh.
Your paper often seems to pride itself on its support of freedom of speech. The latest polling indicates that even those who don't completely support the majority who define marriage as the union only of man and woman still want the people to have the final say!
That didn't work out so well for the people in the 2000 election, did it Marilyn? This whole line of thought makes civil rights something that can be bestowed upon certain groups on the whim of the majority. Isn't that a scary world, Marilyn? There was a time, Marilyn, when the voters didn't think that you – a woman – had the right to vote. Or to get an education so as to be able to write letters to the editor. Was it okay for those people to make that series of decisions? Hmmm …
Still no letters in the Tribune Review. What is the deal?
Please write your testimony. Let the Senators on the Appropriations Committee hear from you. It does make a difference.