Pennsylvania Democrats Endorse Marriage Equality With Some Naysayers

The Pennsylvania Progressive has the scoop on this weekend’s events in which the Pennsylvania Democratic Party supported adding marriage equality to the party platform. 

I got a tingling sensation all over as Pennsylvania Democrats overwhelmingly approved a resolution endorsing marriage equality today.  In an emotionally charged meeting with impassioned speeches for women’s rights and gay rights the State Committee, meeting in Valley Forge in a hotel infamously built by non union labor, voted to enter the 21st century.

The sad and pathetic part and the part to which we must focus our attention came from the Southwestern PA Caucus. John Morgan of the Pennsylvania Progressive tried to observe the caucus discussion on the marriage item, but was removed from the meeting by Jack Hanna. This violates the DNC’s own rules about public participation in the Caucus. Nice.  Democracy in action a la Citizens United?

A committeeman from Cambria County got very vocal at that caucus meeting invoking Biblical passages.  Of course this is a legal matter not a religious one.  The Bible also allows slavery, condemns people who eat pork and shellfish and says you shouldn’t cut your hair.  So much for ancient abominations.  The caucus voted 11-7 in support of the bill. 

So we have 7 folks with whom we need to build relationships and do some education.  Can we identify those persons? Well, we can ask. I can ask.

It is an exciting moment, but we must remember that Pennsylvania has NO statewide LGBT rights and that a marriage amendment has been introduced in the last 4 sessions I believe?  While at Netroots Nation this past week, I learned a somewhat discouraging fact – many progressives do not know what ENDA is. By focusing so much messaging on marriage equality, we’ve dropped the ball elsewhere.

Will this be a wedge issue in Pennsylvania come November? Somehow I doubt it – I think the economy and the draconian state budget is going to keep people occupied.  It is perfect timing to push the workforce development/economic development issues related to employment non-discrimination protections found in HB 300.

But the rhetoric from the right wing continue to pound us … I anticipate the politicians will reel it back to come after Obama on the economy, but the faith based folks are going to spend those millions. Our best defense is an offense – know the facts on marriage and focus on the fairness factor of non-discrimination.



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