From the Post-Gazette comes word that a Blair County State Senator, John Eichelberger, plans to hold a press conference Tuesday afternoon to announce the introduction of legislation which would amend the Pennsylvania constitution to protect heterosexual marriage from the gay agenda.
The bill needs to be approved in two successive legislative sessions and then put on the ballot as a referendum. Recent similar attempts have been increasingly unsuccessful. While the 2006 legislation was defeated with a tricky “yes means no” maneuver, a 2008 bill never made it out of committee.
The bad news? Well, this will suck much needed resources away from the battle to expand anti-discrimination protections on a statewide level and possibly derail the expansion of hate crimes legislation. It is mad genius really because it rallies the Pat Toomey zealots around the battle cry of marriage and rustles up the latent social conservatism of many Democrats we've sent to Harrisburg. It also gives Diane Gramley the chance to dust off her tired old arguments and hit the christo-bigots for donations to fill her coffers.
What to do? Be proactive. First, join the Steel City Stonewall Democrats to add some muscle to the fight for the party. Second, consider donations however modest to organizations such as the Women's Law Project which will be in the trenches on this issue. Third, make calls and ask your heterosexual network to do the same — remind your legislators that passing the anti-discrimination bill is imperative for the social and economic future of Pennsylvania.
Be attentive folks. We are approaching the benchmark of six states providing marriage equality for our families. That translates into stronger and healthier families as well as a stronger and healthier community. Marriage equality is not about stripping faith communities of their right to bless what they choose. It is about economic, legal and social justice for our community.
Still, that is not our battle in Pennsylvania. Our battle is to get HB 300 passed (I'm assuming Amanda and Dan have got our backs on the County level) without letting this derail us.
So step up, please. Call your parents, your best friend, your cousin. Ask them to contact their elected officials with the simple message: We care about HB 300. No need to mention marriage. No need to discuss the amendment. Simply let them know that voters of all orientations are paying attention and expect them to do the right thing.
I'm taking bets on how long it takes Gramley to issue a press release after the conference tomorrow. Anyone?
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