Marriage Equality in PA

Don’t count on it.

I know we are all pretty excited about the statements from Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama. As we should be.

But I had a recent twitter discussion with someone who challenged me on the fact that Pennsylvania has enacted no statewide LGBT rights in legislative statute. No adoption rights. No non-discrimination rights. No bullying education. No rights in the schools. No hate crimes. And no marriage equality.  She claimed that as second-parent adoption was validated by State Supreme Court 10 years ago, it counts. I challenged her and she then said marriage equality would end that.

She’s right. If Pennsylvania recognized same sex marriages, same sex married couples could adopt without problem. But that’s far from the most significant issue. And I continue to promote that pushing for marriage before the Commonwealth is ready is a bad idea.

We need to lay the building blocks for ALL LGBT residents, not just those who want to marry. We need to push for job security, housing access and safe learning environments.  And while we have achieved progress on that front, it seems the way of the Pennsylvania gay is to busy our head in the sand and pretend its okay.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

A recent Public Policy Polling poll showed Pennsylvania opposition to gay marriage at 50 percent, with only 38 percent approving, leading Byron Tau at Politico to note the president “appears to have gone against the safest read of polling data on gay marriage.” 

We continue to “contain” a marriage amendment of our very own to committees in the House and Senate, but that’s about politics. We just un-elected Babette Josephs who was key to keeping the PA House Committee on State Government in some check from its wildcat unfettered hate-leader, Daryl Metcalfe.

I predict we are going to see a backlash as of yet unheard of in Pennsylvania as Diane Gramley of the PA Family Association and her minions and overlords take all that money piling up in the coffers of the Pennsylvania Research Council and unleash it on us.  They are going to win PA for Romney at any cost and then they are going to up the ante to push through that marriage amendment.

Feigning ignorance about adoption rights in Pennsylvania is not an option, not if you don’t want your next adoption cut off at the knees. There’s no room for complacency. And there’s no room to justify taking the child in a LGBT family to Chick-Fil-A … seriously?

Let me remind you … if you are part of the LGBTQ community … every right you currently have is granted by your local municipality.

Let me remind you … the President said “let the states decide.”

Let me remind you … unmarried heterosexual couples outnumber same sex households by nearly 10 to 1, but the overlords have no qualms casting them to the side to get to our families.

Let me remind you  … our “Democratic Congressman” Mark Critz voted against the LGBT community every chance he had, even when it was unnecessary.

Let me remind you  … every time you toss a few coins into the Catholic pass-a-basket, you feed the very machine that will try to crush you.

I sound fatalistic, but the delusions of people in a mere few days make me gravely concerned. I suspect people with a little bit of affluence don’t want to hear the truth. They don’t want to acknowledge that white privilege and socio-economic privilege only go so far.  They delude themselves because its not worth the time to educate themselves about how the government works — the federal Matthew Shepherd Hate Crimes law doesn’t do squat if the frat boy beating you to a pulp calls you a “faggot” while he does it. Look it up.  Pittsburgh offered domestic partner benefits to City employees almost 17 years go … the firefighters and EMT unions still won’t accept them. And then we wonder about diversity among first responders?

If you think President Obama is going to push through ENDA in the next Congress, you are nuts. But have you even talked to your State Representative about HB 300?  Do you know who your state rep is? Do you understand that Obama cannot force PA or Westmoreland County government to do anything? Do you understand that?

I’m not feeling optimistic. As soon as someone countered a posting about the FACTS on LGBT rights with a diatribe about quality of life for LGBT folks, I wanted to swallow my tongue (some would probably approve.) WTF is that going to do to protect the next trans persons arrest in Fayette County for the crime of being different?

50% of your neighbors disapprove of marriage equality. I wonder if the question was framed so that they understood that marriage amendments destroy ten times as many opposite sex families as LGBT? I doubt it, but its a hard message to sell.

That’s where you come in. Its your moral duty to get informed and do something.