The state House will consider a bill to repeal Pennsylvania’s same-sex marriage ban

Ten years after a federal court struck down a Pennsylvania law banning same-sex marriage, on Wednesday, for the first time in history, the House Judiciary Committee passed a bill to repeal the invalid law.

Although this decision was confirmed and became law a year later when the United States Supreme Court outlawed same-sex marriage bans, House Bill 2269′The company’s lead sponsor said repealing Pennsylvania’s law defining marriage as a contract between one man and one woman is an vital, symbolic step.

“The fact that these statutes are out of date proves the point and necessity for us to do this, and sends an important message that we accept William Penn’s vision of tolerance and acceptance no matter who you are,” says Republican Malcolm Kenyatta (D). ). -Philadelphia) said during a Judiciary Committee hearing.

The bill passed with a 17-8 majority, including three Republicans, Timothy Bonner of Mercer County, Toren Ecker of Adams County and Kate Klunk of York County. The bill will now go to the House of Representatives.

Rep. Paul Schemel (R-Franklin) opposed the bill, arguing that the state’s interest in promoting legal marriage is rooted in protecting the welfare of children born to the union of a man and a woman.

“The law does not state that same-sex relationships are right or wrong. “It’s just that they differ in important ways and that changing the law on marriage changes the basic understanding and undermines the convention according to which the state recognizes marriage at all,” Schemel said.

Other committee members said changing Pennsylvania law to clearly state that marriage is a contract between two people is necessary to protect the rights of LGBTQ+ people.

Rep. Joe Hohenstein (Philadelphia), who said he is the parent of a transgender person, noted that Supreme Court justices have shown a willingness to engage in judicial activism. In June 2022, the Supreme Court overturned its own 49-year-old precedent establishing a national right to abortion, clearing the way for states to impose bans on the procedure.

“If that were to happen, I would want Pennsylvania to remain a bastion of marriage equality. For this reason, this law must be removed from the books,” Hohenstein said.

Preston Heldibridle, executive director of the Pennsylvania Youth Congress, said LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanians should be free to marry without fear of having their marriage declared invalid.

“Today’s vote confirms that updating the wording of our state statute to set aside past exclusion has bipartisan support and reflects the reality that marriage equality is widely supported today,” Heldibridle said. “Marriage equality is simply the right public policy in Pennsylvania – what more needs to be said?”

The language defining marriage contained in Art. 1704 of the Pennsylvania Domestic Relations Act was declared invalid following a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act. U.S. District Judge John E. Jones ruled in favor of a widow, 11 same-sex couples and the children of one of the couples who wanted the state to recognize their marriages performed in other states.

Last year in the Pennsylvania House passed the Justice Act, which would extend protections under state anti-discrimination law to LGBTQ+ people. The bill, first introduced more than 20 years earlier, passed the House on a 102-98 vote with the support of two GOP lawmakers, Reps. Aaron Kaufer and Alec Ryncavage of Luzerne County. Democratic Republican Frank Burns of Cambria County voted against it.

The Justice Act has not been considered in the Senate,

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