News (USA)

Pennsylvania lawmaker to reintroduce anti-gay marriage amendment

A Pennsylvania state lawmaker said he plans to reintroduce legislation aimed at a state constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman, as well as outlaw same-sex civil unions and domestic partnerships.

State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Cranberry Township, Pa.), on Wednesday circulated a co-sponsorship memo to revive efforts to pass the anti-gay amendment, which he first introduced in May 2011.

Daryl Metcalfe

Advocacy group Equality Pennsylvania released the text of Metcalfe’s memorandum:

In the near future, I will be introducing legislation proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Pennsylvania providing for the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. My legislation is similar to a bill that passed the House in June 2006 by an overwhelming majority.

This constitutional amendment will eliminate confusion as to what constitutes a legal marriage, and it will also designate marriage as the only type of union that will be legally recognized in Pennsylvania. The language contained in my legislation is modeled after Florida’s marriage protection amendment, which was approved by more than 60 percent of Florida voters in 2008. To date, voters in 30 states have ratified similar amendments to their state constitution.

It is important that we support traditional marriage and have constitutional amendments to protect it at the state level. Marriage is a common good, not a special interest. Special interests should not have the right to redefine marriage for all of us.

Metcalfe first introduced House Bill 1434 on May 2, 2011, to “define” marriage as a union between one man and one woman and outlaw any other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent, such as civil unions or domestic partnerships.

Last April, the House State Government Committee, which Metcalfe chaired, put off debate on the measure.

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.

Capital observers in Harrisburg agree that such an amendment is a long shot, as it would need approval by both chambers of the General Assembly during two consecutive sessions, and then pass a public ballot referendum.

A similar measure in Minnesota was defeated by voters on Nov. 6.

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