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WESTERN PA FREEDOM TO MARRY
About the issue of marriage for same-sex couples
- Marriage is a stabilizing influence in our society. It promotes family and family values.
Marriage is how our society extends the rights, benefits and responsibilities to committed couples in
- Gay and lesbian couples are denied significant benefits in the area of property and
inheritance rights, legal standing, insurance and employment, and taxation because they cannot enter
into state-sanctioned civil marriage.
- A Hawaiian Commission created to study marriage for same-sex couples concluded
that there are
no reasons to deny marriage to these couples, and significant reasons to extend the
benefits of marriage to them. These reasons include the right to be free from discrimination and
to equal protection of the law.
- Civil marriage is not religious marriage. The separation of church and state protects
religious denominations thaat disapprove of same-sex marriages from having to perform or recognize
them. Just as some religions now donıt recognize civil divorce, no religion can be forced to
recognize marriages that go against their teachings.
About SB 434
- SB 434 is unnecessary and costly. No state currently performs marriages for
same-sex couples. No county in Pennsylvania will issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple.
There is no pending litigation in Pennsylvania on this issue. If, in the future, some state should
begin to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the state courts will decide whether or not these
marriages must be recognized. This legislation, if passed, guarantees that Pennsylvania will face
expensive litigation when these laws are challenged.
- SB 434 lacks a legitimate foundation in public policy. State policies that
encourage monogamous marriage decreases the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases, can improve
mental health by providing stable emotional support, and is consistent with state policies protecting
freedom of religion, protecting civil rights, and granting equal protection under the law. Legislation
to restrict marriage runs counter to these positive public policy concerns.
- SB 434 would create a logistical nightmare for married couples. America is
not a country where legally-married couples need to get a marriage visa stamped every time they
cross a state border. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court wrote, ³Specifically regarding conflicts as to
recognition of marital status, there is a strong policy favoring uniformity of result. In an age of
widespread travel and ease of mobility, it would create inordinate confusion and defy the reasonable
expectations of citizens whose marriage is valid in one state to hold that marriage invalid
elsewhere." re Estate of Lenherr (455 Pa. at 229-30, 314 A.2d at 258
- SB 434 would create a legal nightmare. Imagine if married couples had to worry
if their right to make medical decisions for each other, or if their spousal spousal medical insurance
was in-force simply because they came to Pennsylvania. How will companies be able to maintain
coherent personelle policies if their offices are required by conflicting state laws to treat the same
employee differently depending on the state where he or she is working? This anti-marriage
legislation is counter to the established legal rules, rights and responsibilites of marriage.
- The proposed legislation dangerously mixes religion into the business
of the state.
Religions and philosophies differ with regard to the moral imperatives they either condemn or
condone. While some find same-sex unions repugnant, others embrace and sanctify them. If the
moral position of some is enshrined as a legal prohibition against marriage for same-sex couples,
what other moral positions can be enacted into law? Should the state allow adulterers to remarry?
Should procreation be a requirement for a married couple?
Western PA Freedom to Marry Coalition Homepage
mail to Western PA Freedom to Marry Coalition
FIGHT Censorship at CMU
Last updated 5/9/96 by firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 1996, Scott A. Safier