PA Senate Judiciary Committee to Vote on Constitutional Amendment Banning Same-Sex Marriage

The PA Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on SB707, a joint resolution which proposes amending the state constitution by adding a definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

Lesbian and gay couples deserve full legal protection and the opportunity to have the thousands of benefits that flow from civil marriage.

What is shocking is that Pennsylvania law already denies same-sex couples the right to marry. In fact, the 1996 Pennsylvania Marriage Statutes defines marriage as “between one man and one woman.” Furthermore it states that out-of-state marriages of two people of the same-sex will not be valid in the Commonwealth.  And there is also the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) [PDF] passed by the U.S. Congress in 1996, which states that the federal government will honor only marriages between one man and one woman. It further stipulates that no state, territory, or possession of the United States or Indian tribe can be required to recognize a same-sex marriage performed in any other jurisdiction.

With state and federal laws already on the books that specifically prohibit same-sex marriages, why is the Pennsylvania Senate wasting time and resources trying to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution?  Certainly there are more pressing problems facing the Pennsylvania Senate than this fabricated threat to the sanctity of marriage.

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