Yesterday as the Governor of New Hampshire made gay marriage legal, a Pennsylvania Democrat Senator has introduced the state’s first bill to legalise gay marriage. But at the same time a Republican Senator will propose a constitutional ban on gay marriage saying it could lead to polygamy.
Democrat Senator Daylin Leach’s says that the current ban on gay marriage robs gays and lesbians couples fundamental rights such as inheritance, making medical decisions and even the right to visit their spouse in hospital.
Writing in the Philadelphia Daily News, Senator Leach said: “The case for same-sex marriage is simple. The state and federal government confer hundreds of benefits on married couples that are unavailable to single people. This encourages marriage, which benefits society. We should be doing with gay couples what we do with straight couples: encouraging them to enter permanent, monogamous, stable, legally recognized unions.”
He added: “The arguments against gay marriage are more complicated.
“We’re told we need to ‘protect traditional marriage.’ But what’s happened to straight couples in states where gay couples can marry? Studies show straight-marriage rates remain the same. So do divorce rates, birth rates and domestic violence. There’s no change in the status, behaviour or happiness of married heterosexual couples when a married gay couple moves in down the street.”
“There is no reasonable alternative to same-sex marriage. Same-sex couples will always exist. Many are raising children. Many opponents of gay marriage preach that children shouldn’t be raised out of wedlock, but the one sure way to raise the number of children being raised out of wedlock is to deny their parents the chance to marry. They also urge young people to delay sex until marriage.
“But if gay people can’t marry, what would they tell a gay teen about when it is appropriate for him to have a sexual relationship? “
But at the same time, Republican Senator John Eichelberger has said he will introduce a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. He says that this will prevent court decisions as in Iowa and briefly in California that gave gay couples the right to marry.
Senator Eichelberger says his proposal is to prevent polygamy and other forms of marriage. “The same logic that’s being used for same-sex marriage is the argument that would be used for the next form of ‘marriage,” he told The Bulletin
Two similar measures have failed in recent years.
Pennsylvania has one of the oldest populations in the country, with older citizens still showing high disapproval of gay marriage. It is also heavily Catholic.
However, it has been tipped as one of the states which will recognise gay marriage soon.
Nate Silver, one of the nation’s top analysts of political data, recently created a map predicting when all 50 states would legalise gay marriage.
Based on factors such as religious power and voter demographics, he predicted that Pennsylvania will legalise gay marriage in 2012.