HOPING TO ride the wave of momentum nationally, two state lawmakers from Philadelphia will introduce a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania.The bill allegedly also has bipartisan support, with over 30 co-sponsors.
State Reps. Brian Sims and Steve McCarter, both Philadelphia Democrats, will announce the introduction of the Pennsylvania Marriage Equality Act during a news conference today at 10 a.m. in LOVE Park.
Legalizing same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania may seem far fetched, given that Republicans control both houses of the state legislature, and the governor's mansion. However, it has increasingly become one of the most dynamic fronts in the battle for marriage equality.
Democrat Kathleen Kane, who won the election for Attorney General last year, made headlines for defying Gov. Corbett and refusing to defend DOMA.
And a legal battle is gearing up over a clerk in Montgomery County who issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of state law.
Now there's news of another court battle that could prove potentially vital for legitimizing gay marriage across the nation.
Palladino v. Corbett is the first case to attack a state law that declares a same-sex marriage from another state “void.” That challenge is quite likely to succeed. If it does, it will effectively tear down the whole edifice of refusing to recognize same-sex marriage, and serve as a model for attacks across the country.I've also mentioned how Philadelphia has taken steps to become one of the most LGBT-friendly communities in the nation.
If Palladino and Barker win, and Pennsylvania has to recognize their marriage, the state still won’t have to authorize its own same-sex weddings. But that will soon become a distinction without a difference. Pennsylvania couples can plan their destination weddings in all of New England, New York, Delaware, Maryland, and D.C.—and head home knowing that their marriages are also legal and binding in the state of Pennsylvania. And once this strategy catches on around the country, we’ll have gay couples living with the same rights and protections as straight couples everywhere—even if some states continue to pretend otherwise.
Legalizing same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania makes sense politically. Polls show that support for legalizing gay marriage is growing in the state. It makes sense to me that state Republicans can see the writing on the walls, and would want to make sure they don't miss this opportunity to share some of the credit for legalizing gay marriage. Now hopefully, it's just a matter of time.
On the other hand, Gov. Corbett is not likely to get out of the way. His continued intransigence on this and so many other issues is likely to play into the hands of his Democrat challengers next year, as Corbett's approval ratings continue to plummet.
With Pennsylvania poised to became one of the next states to legalize same-sex marriage, either through legislation or litigation, the LGBT community moves one step closer to the equal rights they so rightfully deserve, while the country moves one step closer to living up to the standards one should expect of a 21st century society.
Perhaps Sims, the first openly LGBT candidate elected to state legislature, puts it best: "This bill is going to become law sooner than later."