Well, that didn’t take long. No sooner than a member of the PA Republican delegation comes out than good ole Daryl Metcalfe sends around a memo stating his intent to “be like Florida” (OMG) and reintroduce the damn amendment.
Last month, voters in FOUR STATES embraced marriage equality. OK, Minnesota rejected a marriage amendment which isn’t technically the same thing as embracing marriage equality, but it certainly adds some balance to this picture.
Pennsylvania in 2006 – that’s the year almost every Western PA House Democrat voted in favor of this amendment. Then the Senate had to “save us” by introducing a weaker version so that Republicans would not support it. I call it a “yes means no” vote …
We had a bitter struggle over this in 2006. Many Southwestern Pennsylvania Democrats in the House voted in favor of the amendment. The Senate did some fancy footwork by introducing a watered-down version of the amendment (would not outlaw civil unions), counting on the fact that the Repubs would never go for it and they were right. So everyone walked away claiming they voted for it and against it. It all boils down to the fact that very few of our legislators were willing to publicly stand up against discrimination and homophobia.
The legislation never made it to the floor in 2008, 2011, 2012, etc.
It would appear Metcalfe wants to go back to basics by legislating domestic partnerships out of existence along with same sex marriage. How does that sit with you? Remember – that impacts heterosexual couples, too.
- It could eliminate our domestic partnership benefits.
- It could invalidate domestic violence laws for unmarried couples (this happened in Ohio). So if you beat the tar out of your girlfriend – its assault. If you do the same thing to your wife – its a much worse crime.
- It could restrict businesses from locating in PA b/c they WANT to offer domestic partner benefits. Is that a business friendly climate?
- It could trump your carefully planned powers of attorney and hospital visits and all of that.
- It could prevent second parent adoption – and I know a lot of you haven’t completed that process yet.
- And more …
We lost Metcalfe’s most formidable opponent, Babette Josephs, in the last election. We gained a bipartisan LGBT Caucus (Brian Simms and Mike Fleck) in the House. Can they join forces and work with leaders like Dan Frankel to stop this in is tracks? Let’s hope so.
Once again, let’s remember – we have serious issues in Pennsylvania that need the undivided attention of our elected officials. That’s a message that resonates with your state rep. You want them focused on the economy, education, bridges and healthcare.
It is interesting that in the face of repeated failed attempts to get legislation to the Floor AND the recent election outcomes, Metcalfe has opted to go with the most draconian version of this legislation. What’s his strategy? Is he simply stirring up the fringes and writing off moderate Republicans? That’s curious. The Philadelphia City Paper ran an interesting assessment of Metcalfe’s power base earlier in 2012.
Little is known about Metcalfe the man. His website states that the upstate New York native attended Kansas State University but does not indicate that he received a degree. He served four years in the Army and eventually made his way to Western Pennsylvania to repair medical devices.
Metcalfe is secretive to the point that he refuses to let janitors clean his office in the Cranberry Township office building.
“He will not allow anyone to clean his office after he’s left because he has ‘secret documents,’” says Democratic Butler County Commissioner James Lokhaiser, who complained about Metcalfe’s obsessive focus on immigrants.
He is a mystery to many colleagues in the House, too, a loner who rarely socializes with other legislators. But Metcalfe didn’t come to Harrisburg to, as they say, make friends. Democrats face corruption indictments and political marginalization, moderate Republicans are cowed by the Tea Party, and a loud voice with a pair of sharp elbows has eagerly filled the void.
Don’t wait folks. Call you State Rep and weigh in on this.