Just in from Keystone Equality comes word that Pennsylvania State Senator John Eichelberger made the following comments in his radio debate with Senator Daylin Leach about their dueling marriage equality bills. Senator Eichelberger's bill would amend the constitution of Pennsylvania to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
Here’s a partial transcript of Eichelberger’s remarks. Times are approximate.
You can listen to the whole debate at: http://www.whyy.org/91FM/radiotimes.html
Leach: How would he [Eichelberger] want to encourage stability in gay couples?
Eichelberger: I wouldn’t. I mean they can practice whatever sexual activity they like to practice, but there’s no reason to give them special consideration. We don’t give them special consideration in Pennsylvania for any reason. Why in the world would we allow them to marry?
Leach: How would he want to encourage stability in gay couples?
Eichelberger: There is no reason to encourage that type of behavior in Pennsylvania.
Eichelberger: That comes back to the definition of family and that’s where we differ. We can call all kinds of things families. I mean, we can say a 3 party marriage is a family, or 7 or 8 people or marrying younger and younger children these days .
Host: Are you saying that by their very nature homosexual relationships are dysfunctional?
Eichelberger: [Pause] Ummmm. I guess I would say that. I would say that.
Eichelberger: This changes the definition of marriage, allowing same-sex, and then like I said, 5-10 years from now it’ll be polygamy, marrying younger people, it’ll be whatever…It won’t be a 6 year old, it’ll be a 15 year old, then it’ll be a 14 year old, then it’ll be a 13 year old.
Leach: Should our only policy towards [same-sex] couples be one of punishment, to somehow prove that they’ve done something wrong?
Eichelberger: They’re not being punished. We’re allowing them to exist, and do what every American can do. We’re just not rewarding them with any special designation.
Sadly, that's pretty consistent with the rhetoric embodied in the Department of Justice briefing issued by the Obama Administration on the defense of DOMA. It is an interesting week when Arlen Specter publicly supports the repeal of DADT (but doesn't offer to sponsor the bill) and Obama links gay marriages to incest and pedophilia.
Back to Pennsylvania. This is the rhetoric we can expect over the foreseeable future. What you, dear readers, need to consider is that this is the mentality facing HB 300 which would amend the Human Relations Act to include protections based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
An elected official saying we have the privilege of existing? Existing? Are you kidding me? This is what passes for civil discourse in our society among those elected to lead us. The flip side of the coin is that “we” would have the ability to deny us the right to exist, isn't it? That's horrifying. It is one thing to disapprove of my identity or believe it is a choice, but quite another thing to suggest that I am permitted to exist in spite of my identity. Should I be grateful to Senator Eichelberger for not condoning someone taking away my existence?
Think about this. Seriously. You are allowed to exist. Your daughter, son, sibling or dear friends are allowed to exist. That's where we are right now in this debate.
You can take action with a message to Senator Eichelberger via Keystone Progress.
I think you need to do more. You need to call YOUR Senator today or Monday and raise the roof over this outrageous comment. Here's the link to find your Senator. I called Senator Fontana and demanded he address this with Senator Eichelbeger and the Republican and Senate leadership. No way is this okay. I do not exist at the whim of Pennsylvania's Republicans or the hatemongerers masking as the ardent defenders of marriage.
How far will you let elected officials go before you get involved? Incest? Pedophilia? Your existence?