Bolstered by the U.S. Supreme Court rulings on Wednesday two state lawmakers say they will introduce a bill to legalize gay marriage in Pennsylvania.
Reps. Brian Sims, (D.,Phila.) and Steve McCarter, (D., Montgomery), say that the high court rulings show it is time for Pennsylvania to join surrounding states that have enacted marriage equality bills.
Sims, who is the first openly gay candidate elected to the state legislature, noted that polls (incuding a recent Franklin & Marshall survey) show a majority of Pennsylvanians support same-sex marriage.
Currently. 13 states have marriage equality laws.
"LGBT Pennsylvanians are seeing their neighbors in New York, Maryland and Delaware, among other states, now qualify for the approximately 1,000 federal rights and benefits that come with civil marriage and they are increasingly asking why they don't have those same rights, as well as the state rights and benefit," he said.
A similar bill (SB 719) has been introduced by Sen. Daylin Leach (D., Montgomery) in the Senate.
Sims and McCarter add that the Leach bill would provide protections for religious organizations and entities that do not wish to sanction, perform or in any way recognize same-sex civil marriages.
It's unclear which House committee would consider Sims' bill. But it could end up in the state government committee chaired by Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R., Butler) who yesterday called the Supreme Court's ruling overturning the Defense of Marriage Act a "violation of the trust of the American people and a case of judicial activism."
McCarter said government has has "no role in weighing the value or legitimacy of a couple's love based on their sexual orientation."
"This bill should already be law, but sadly because it is not," he said. "I urge the majority leadership in the House and Senate as well as the governor to embrace this measure and move it as quickly as possible."
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