PA House Panel Pulls Gay Marriage Ban Vote


Lawmakers in Pennsylvania were expected on Tuesday to take up a bill that would put the issue of amending the state’s constitution to ban gay marriage and civil unions before voters in 2013. However, possibly because of intense pressure from equality groups, the House Panel decided to abandon action at this time.

Reports On Top Magazine:

The House State Government Committee was expected to vote on the resolution during its 9AM session.

Representative Daryl Metcalfe’s proposal would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to ban recognition of any “substantial equivalent” to heterosexual marriage. The Republican lawmaker introduced his measure last year.


According toCapitol Ideas, a blog ofThe Morning Call, Metcalfe cited a large number of amendments attached to the bill as the reason for his decision to set it aside.

“The institution of traditional marriage has never been under greater attack,” Metcalfe is quoted as saying when he introduced the amendment. “This not only includes the special interests who want to permanently redefine marriage, but unfortunately the executive branch and the federal Department of Justice who have blatantly and recklessly refused to uphold and defend its constitutionality. Once again, it falls to the responsibility of state lawmakers to restore the rule of law and carry out the will of the people.”

Given that the House State Government Committee to which the bill was assignedis chaired by Metcalfe it would seem likely that the bill will be advanced should it receive a vote. There have been some reports saying the bill has been pulled from the committee entirely. It is unknown at this time whether the bill might be reassigned.The bill would need to be approved in two consecutive sessions to be put on the ballot.

Pennsylvania already has a statutory ban on same-sex marriage, so this is a move to codify the state’s existing law. It does however go slightly further than that. Readers will note that the language of House Bill 1434 bans gay marriage and “substantial equivalent” unions which would appear to rule out the possibility of civil unions and may even prohibit domestic partnerships for straight and gay couples alike.

A constitutional amendment banning gay marriage to be voted on by North Carolina voters in May has received significant criticism for using such language because it would severely disadvantage colleges and businesses seeking to attract out-of-state talent because they would not be able to offer domestic partnership benefits to any workers. The same fears have been floated about the Pennsylvania bill.

Critics also say that lawmakers should be focusing on jobs and the economy.

Reports Pittsburgh City Paper:

But as Ted Martin, executive director at Equality PA points out, “this bill is much worse and meaner.” Martin says that if it passed, future discussion of civil unions or domestic partnerships “would be off the table.” And, it would forcefully terminate domestic partnership benefits provided to public employees.

“But it doesn’t create one job and will cost taxpayers to advertise this,” he says.

Martin also points out that no one in the state is calling for such a measure and that support in it is waning as there are more than 50 less co-sponsors this year then in 2006, the last time such an amendment was attempted. But, with every state bordering Pennsylvania either allowing marriage or civil unions, Martin says his sense is “that the crazies feel surrounded and said ‘we have to do something.’”

Martin and other advocates are lobbying for citizens to call their representatives. “This issue is radioactive,” says Martin. “We have to tell people how ridiculous this [is].”

A 2010 effort to pass a constitutional amendment was defeated by the full House with bipartisan support.

Learn how you can support Equality PA’s campaign against the constitutional amendment here.


Related Reading:

Is it Unamerican to be Anti-Gay? Fran Drescher Thinks So

Diocese Puts Religious Dogma Before Helping the Homeless

Pope Tells US Bishops to Fight Gay Marriage, Cohabitation


Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to basykes.


LD B5 years ago

Sadly, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has ceased to be a commonweatlh.

And, has been accurately described as being Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, with Alabama in between.

Beth M.
Beth M5 years ago

We need to kill this bill once and for all.

Luvenia V.
Luvenia V5 years ago

This is why we are a Republic and NOT a Democracy; these things should NEVER be put into the hands of the voters. When we put this kind of thing in the hands of the voters, the voting process becomes nothing short of mob rule or a form of dictatorship. This kind of stupidity from the loony right is killing not only America but hurting the entire free world and we can only hope that one day the idiots will be voted out and true American leaders will found to sit in office.

Fred Krohn
Fred Krohn5 years ago

Metcow's stupid amendment should be used to feed the incinerator, and Metcow himself should get a new suit of tar and feathers and a free ride out of state on a fence rail. Stupid bigot!

Janice A.
Janice Adams5 years ago

The civil rights of minorities should never be put to the vote and here is why: When you have people voting in elections you have lots of money floating around for advertising. Advertising can state anything, whether it is is true or not. They can state that gays are pedophiles, that if there is gay marriage that priests and ministers will be forced by law to marry gay couples in their churches even though their religion objects, that gay marriage will be taught in schools to kindergarten and first grade children in an effort to indoctrinate them into gay lifestyles, that homosexuality is a choice just like heterosexuality and if given a chance most kids will choose homosexuality because they are rebellious and the gay people make it sound like such fun. For God's sake, people are born gay or straight they don't get to choose, Straight people can to be turned into gay people at the point of a gun. People should have the right to have the same rights and responsibility no matter who they want to marry. People should have a right to be at a dying partner's bedside, people should have the right to adopt children as a couple if they so desire, people should have the right to be on their partner's health insurance, people should have the right to inherit their life partner's property and all the rest of the stuff that goes along with marriage. When people are denied equality under the law it is only because lies have been engendered and perpetuated. The whites did it to th

John Mansky
John Mansky5 years ago

Thank you for the article

Cathryn C.
Cathryn C5 years ago

Ahh the sweet sound of Representatives scrambling to save their jobs.

Rosanne S.
Rosanne S5 years ago

I do not and will not ever understand the notion that gay marriage is an attack on straight marriage.

If John and Bill across the street get married, and Jane and Debbie next door get married, what possible effect does this have on MY marriage? I'm married the same way I was yesterday, the same way I will be tomorrow.

In truth, gay marriage would have a POSITIVE effect on straight marriage. The more free gay people are to be married, the less likely they are to bow to societal expectations to enter a straight marriage. That means fewer divorces five, ten, fifteen years down the road as one partner decides that the pretense is too difficult to keep going and the other partner endures the pain of disillusionment.

Gary Stewart
Gary Stewart5 years ago

If it ever passes there will be at least one less Pennsylvanian!

Terry T.
Terry T5 years ago

Here's hoping such a ban is never considered again.