Mark Segal: Register of wills, time for marriage equality
On Sunday the Inquirer ran a story by Amy Worden and Chris Palmer titled Gay rights fights pick up steam in PA.
It was all about the fight for marriage equality happening across the state of Pennsylvania in places like Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Montgomery County, but not Philadelphia. That leaves me very sad since Philly is one of the top LGBT friendly cities in the nation. Our mayor, city council and almost all aspects of city life strive to be inclusive to the LGBT community. In return, the LGBT community has joined with the city to bring jobs and tourism to help a city they love grow.
But back to that marriage issue. In Philadelphia it's the office of register of wills that issues licenses. Here in Philly, that office is still debating if they should join the battle. The state most likely will come in and attempt to stop the issuing of licenses, but that is what a civil rights movement is all about: creating cracks in the wall of oppression. This step maybe symbolic, but it is symbolic measures like this that builds a legacy of tolerance and inclusion. By issuing licenses you will give members of the LGBT community the legal rights they need to fight the system. Marriage equality is supported by a majority of Pennsylvanians and a much larger percentage of Philadelphians.
In reality in Philadelphia, it's not a big deal. Our mayors have officiated over same sex marriages already. Our delegations to both the state House of Representatives and state Senate are overwhelmingly partners in equality. This city has always fought for civil rights and as President Obama has stated, this is the civil rights issue of our time.
It's easy to stay on the sidelines, but let me assure you. If you join the good battle, you'll like the face you look back at in the mirror.