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Pennsylvania House committee to vote on anti-gay marriage amendment

Pennsylvania House committee to vote on anti-gay marriage amendment

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania state House committee is scheduled to vote on Tuesday on a bill that would “define” marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

House Bill 1434, introduced by Representative Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler County) in May of last year would also prohibit any other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent, such as civil unions or domestic partnerships.

“The institution of traditional marriage has never been under greater attack,” Metcalfe said when he introduced the bill.

“This not only includes the special interests who want to permanently redefine marriage, but unfortunately the executive branch and the federal Department of Justice who have blatantly and recklessly refused to uphold and defend its constitutionality. Once again, it falls to the responsibility of state lawmakers to restore the rule of law and carry out the will of the people,” he said.

The State Government Committee, which is chaired by Metcalfe, is expected to approve the bill and send it on to the full House.

If approved by both the House and Senate in two consecutive sessions of the state legislature, then the amendment could appear on the 2013 ballot.

Advocacy group Equality Pennsylvania has been circulating a petition calling on the state’s lawmakers to drop the amendment and focus on economic issues instead — EQPA reported that nearly 3,000 people have signed it so far.

In 2010, three Republican state senators crossed the aisle to help defeat a similar measure sponsored by Sen. John H. Eichelberger, Jr.

Currently, Pennsylvania bans same-sex marriage by law, but opponents of same-sex marriage say the institution remains vulnerable to a legal challenge without a constitutional amendment.

Voters in North Carolina and Minnesota, will consider similar amendments this year.

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