Monday, December 27
by Sue on Mon 27 Dec 2010 08:35 AM EST
I dialogued with Sue Frietsche of the Women's Law Project about the Metcalfe memo on "Marriage Amendment" 2011. Her take on it is cause for serious thought ...
It's more radical than alternative versions because of the provision prohibitingrecognition of any "identical or substantially equivalent" legal union. So whatis a substantially equivalent legal union? Would it prohibit domestic partnershipbenefits, second-parent adoptions, joint checking accounts, reciprocal powers ofattorney, or what? Because it's a proposed constitutional amendment, it speaksin broad generalities, not the specifics of a statute or regulation. This versionfailed last time because no one had any idea how it would affect all kinds ofPennsylvanians: would it harm heterosexual unmarried couples who had someequivalent legal structures in place to protect their interests short of marriage?
This is going to require a serious education component to shake folks out of their complacency about adoptions and POA's. I'm sure most people would be stunned to learn that an amendment that seems to be about "gay marriage" could impact the Power of Attorney documents for unmarried heterosexual couples. Advocates have to find a way to connect with people who aren't at the table but have a vested interest in these issues.
That message has to resonate as loudly as Senator "Gays Are Allowed to Exist" Eichelberger's infamous comments from last session.
There are slews of LGBTQ adoptive parents and every couple has a second parent adoption. That's hundreds of Allegheny County voters to be mobilized. I'm not 100% sure of the nuances of second parent adoption for heterosexual couples, but the POA issue could be devastating. People spend thousands getting those documents prepared along with other domestic partnership paperwork. What about people traveling through Pennsylvania? What if a LGBTQ couple with a child are involved in a car accident and the primary adoptive parent passes away? Would the Commonwealth be able to deem the second parent adoption null and void under the federal DOMA statute?
I guess the point is, as Sue points out, that we just don't know.
We do know that there are a lot of things to be addressed, things even Dems and Repubs can agree upon so it might be better to vest energy in those topics.
We also know that time is on our side. We have to fend off this amendment (year after year after year), but equality is on the horizon.
Thursday, December 23
by Sue on Thu 23 Dec 2010 03:10 PM EST
IMHO, Pennsylvania is going to have to grapple with the grassroots v Gay, Inc issues pretty damn quickly to muster the forces on this one. I clearly do not support this legislation, but neither do I support a gay agenda driven by insider monied gay men and I don't think I should have to choose. Prepare for an ugly, ugly spring as the community wrestles with the meaning of all that went into the repeal of DADT and the fallout for LGBT organizing. While we must rally, we must also have our eyes wide open that our own best interests may lay in our grassroots work, not just the work of Gay, Inc.
by Sue on Thu 23 Dec 2010 02:59 PM EST
Like roaches crawling out of the woodwork, social conservative Republicans are back to defend marriage against the ever-looming threat of homosexuality. See this memo from PA Representative (and would be Lt. Governor) Darryl Metcalfe whose neck of crazy-town includes Western PA. Seriously, this is a problem
Looks like we'll have another Blog for Equality Pittsburgh this year. Sigh. I had hoped our destruction of the military would be a distraction, but there's no stopping the vigilant defenders of sactity and all that ...