Marriage Now? Or A Nondiscrimination Bill First?

By Daniel Denvir
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 1 | Posted May. 27, 2009

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State Senator Daylin Leach (D-Delaware/Montgomery) today announced his intention to introduce a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in PA. In the wake of California's depressing but expected Supreme Court decision upholding "one-man-one-woman" Proposition 8, there is a lot of grassroots energy around the issue. Just this past November, thousands of Philadelphians took to the streets to protest Prop 8 in solidarity with California queers.

But, as I wrote for PW's Queer Issue, PA LGBTQ advocates' top priority is passing House Bill 300, which would bar discrimination in housing, accommodations or employment based on sexual orientation and gender identity. By this I mean that you can still be fired, kicked out of a restaurant/hotel and be denied housing for being gay or trans in Pennsylvania, unless you happen to live in a progressive enclave like Philly that benefits from a non-discrimination ordinance.

The challenge now is to channel the energy that will be generated by Leach's very well intentioned bill in a way that boosts HB 300 rather than diverting energy away from it. Marriage is great--well, sort of, depending on who you ask -- getting out of the dark ages on discrimination law has to be priority number one. We don't even have the votes to get HB 300, a simple non-discrimination bill, passed in the Republican-controlled senate -- we need to be realistic and prioritize. California and Pennsylvania are very different states with very different political dynamics. So yay for Leach's marriage bill--but let's keep our eye on the don't-fire-queers-or-deny-them-housing ball.

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1. Pietro said... on May 27, 2009 at 04:20PM

“Not gonna pass in PA regardless of which is first...”


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