Lawmakers propose gay marriage bill

Three Great­er Phil­adelphia state sen­at­ors last week talked up bills that would al­low same-sex mar­riage in Pennsylvania and also ban land­lord and em­ploy­er dis­crim­in­a­tion against gay, les­bi­an, bi-sexu­al and trans­gender per­sons. Speak­ing at a City Hall news con­fer­ence, state Sens. Daylin Leach, Mike Stack and Larry Farnese urged Re­pub­lic­an lead­ers to sup­port, not block, Sen­ate Bill 719, which would leg­al­ize same-sex mar­riage, and Sen­ate Bill 300, which would ban land­lord and em­ploy­er dis­crim­in­a­tion against LGBT Pennsylvani­ans.

“Today, we ask our fel­low law­makers on both sides of the aisle to join our co­ali­tion and pass this bill when we re­turn to Har­ris­burg,” said Leach, who rep­res­ents parts of Mont­gomery and Delaware counties. “Today, we ask the gov­ernor to sup­port us, and we ask all Pennsylvani­ans to call their le­gis­lat­ors and ad­voc­ate for the long-over­due equal­ity that the LGBT com­munity has waited for and de­serves.”

North­east Demo­crat Stack said Gov. Tom Corbett should back the bills and push for so­cial justice for all Pennsylvani­ans.

Farnese, a Demo­crat whose dis­trict stretches from South Philly in­to Port Rich­mond, said the bills would make gay, les­bi­an, bi-sexu­al and trans­gender people “a pro­tec­ted class.”

He stressed the mar­riage equal­ity and anti-dis­crim­in­a­tion bills also make eco­nom­ic sense for Pennsylvania. Some people are not loc­at­ing in Pennsylvania and not loc­at­ing their busi­nesses in the state be­cause they are not leg­ally pro­tec­ted.

He said the bills are good for jobs and good for eco­nom­ic op­por­tun­ity. 

Sup­port­ing the meas­ures is com­mon sense, he said.

“It’s ba­sic­ally do­ing the right thing,” he said.

Leach, who has in­tro­duced a mar­riage equal­ity bill every year since 2009, said, “Deny­ing ba­sic hu­man rights to a large seg­ment of so­ci­ety con­tra­dicts our na­tion­al creed. It is our duty as law­makers to pro­tect the people we rep­res­ent and to guar­an­tee equal­ity and free­dom for all.”

Pub­lic opin­ion, which just 10 years ago was firmly against such guar­an­tees, has changed, he said. Mas­sachu­setts, he said, has al­lowed gay mar­riage for a dec­ade and, “There is no evid­ence of ad­verse ef­fects on any­one.” ••

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