Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Legislators speak at pro-gay marriage rally

Sen. Daylin Leach and four Democratic legislators speak at a rally in favor of Montco Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes' decision to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

Legislators speak at pro-gay marriage rally

It appears the rallies are following the poll numbers, with an increasing number of people falling on the side of same-sex marriage.

At a rally this afternoon on the steps of the Montgomery County courthouse, about 100 people stood with signs, waving U.S. and rainbow flags, cheering and shouting "Bruce! Bruce! Bruce! Bruce!" (That's compared with 13 participants at an anti-gay-marriage "pray-in" on July 26.)

Organizers said Monday's rally gave people a chance to publicly thank Montco Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes for issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

Among the speakers were several Democratic state legislators -- Sen. Daylin Leach, Rep. Madeleine Dean, Rep. Matt Bradford, Rep. Brendan Boyle and Rep. Mark Cohen, the longest-serving member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Cohen noted that when the 1996 "one man, one woman" amendment was added to the Pennsylvania Marriage Law, he was the only legislator who spoke against it.  The amendment passed with 90 percent of the vote.

Now, Cohen said, the tide of public opinion has shifted.  "We are winning this battle.  People ask, 'When is same-sex marriage going to come to Pennsylvania?'  It's already here."

Hanes and his supporters say the Supreme Court's recent decision striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act can be extended to the state law, arguing that both are unconstitutional because they single out a group of people to be excluded from marriage.  But courts have yet to decide that question, and it's unclear whether the same-sex marriages taking place in Pennsylvania will stand.

As of Monday, 78 licenses had been issued and 21 marriage certificates had been returned.

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Jessica Parks and Carolyn Davis
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