Corbett Compares Gay Marriage to Incest

State Reps Brian Sims and Steve McCarter introduced a marriage equality bill yesterday and today Gov. gasbag illustrated why he’s so stupid:  he compared same sex marriage with incest in an interview.  We’ve known for three years what a moron this Governor is and he continues putting his foot in his mouth whenever he speaks but this is absolutely ridiculous.  Comparing two adults who live one another, want to commit to each other for life and gain the same rights and benefits as straight couples is NOT the same as screwing your daughter or cousin.

Perhaps Corbett’s parents engaged in some familial incest resulting in an idiot offspring.  There has to be some logical reason Gov. “Just Close Your Eyes” is so stupid and continues saying stupid things in public.

Sims responded by reminding voters this is why Corbett needs to be defeated in 2014.  McCarter said:

“I condemn Gov. Corbett’s comments for their hatefulness and ignorance.  The issue of marriage equality is not a joke, and the governor’s words only further demonstrate that he is out of touch with the majority of Pennsylvanians.”

Gubernatorial candidates Katie McGinty and Ed Pawlowski had these statements to say (respectively):

“Tom Corbett owes an apology to the people of Pennsylvania. He has a history of making demeaning and insulting remarks towards Pennsylvanians of all walks of life, but even for Tom Corbett today’s remark is shockingly offensive. It’s more proof we need a new governor who respects every Pennsylvanian.”

There is no analogy that is appropriate for gay marriage except to say that love is love and civil rights for one are civil rights for all.  That is why I have signed on for Mayors For Marriage Equality.”

“The politics of division and social injustice can no longer be tolerated in Pennsylvania or in this country.  Again, I’ll repeat, that only by working together, no matter what your ethnic or religious background, or sexual preference, can we move Pennsylvania forward.”

Kane Gets Blowback on DOMA Decision

Attorney General Kathleen Kane is getting blowback this week on two separate issues.  First is her shameless wrangling to evict Judge Barry Feudale from his responsibilities overseeing central PA grand juries.  The second is over her decision not to defend the state’s Defense of marriage law in a suit filed by the ACLU.  Right wing ideologues are scorching her for this claiming she must because it is her duty to uphold the law, in this case, a law which has been declared unconstitutional on the federal level.

How can a law which has been declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court be defended on a state level?  It is no longer lawful and therefore indefensible.  Why is it these idiots, blinded by their bigotry, cannot understand that she is defending the law of the land by not defending this state one in court?

Kane Won’t Defend Pennsylvania Marriage Ban

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced yesterday her office will not defend the state’s DOMA law in a legal action entered into federal court by the ACLU of PA on behalf of two dozen same sex couples.  The Commonwealth passed the law limiting rights and we just saw the U.S. Supreme Court strike down the federal law as unconstitutional.  If the federal law is unconstitutional because its violates couple’s rights then each state law is also unconstitutional.  Unfortunately they will need to be litigated on a state by state basis.  Ours is the first such challenge to be filed nationally.

I called for such action the day the SCOTUS decision was issued, challenging my peers in committed relationships to seek marriage licenses then hire civil rights counsel to challenge the law.  This is what the ACLU is doing.  There’s no way, following the SCOTUS decision, that a Judge can go against that momentous, landmark decision and uphold these discriminatory laws.

Meanwhile State Reps Brian Sims and Steve McCarter  have co-sponsored a marriage equality bill in Harrisburg.  Sims is the first openly gay person elected to that body in Pennsylvania.  McCarter issued this statement yesterday following the Kane announcement:

I’m extremely proud of Attorney General Kane for doing what is best for Pennsylvanians and agreeing that we must not stand in the way of progress and true marriage equality for all,” McCarter said. “The law banning gay marriage is obsolete and frankly, a violation of the rights of thousands of LGBT citizens.

“It’s the right thing to do and is a fundamental civil rights issue,” McCarter said.

The lawsuit challenging the gay marriage ban was filed in federal court on Tuesday by two dozen Pennsylvania residents seeking to force Pennsylvania to allow them to marry or recognize their same-sex marriages performed in other states.

“Pennsylvania is the only state in the Northeast that does not allow either gay marriage or civil unions, which only acts as a detriment to our state,” McCarter said. “I’m honored to be working with Representative Brian Sims to gather support in the legislature for a bill that would legalize gay marriage and finally bring true marriage equality to all Pennsylvanians.”

 

Casey Comes Around On Marriage Equality

I stand corrected.  I said anyone hoping Sen. Casey would change his mind and support marriage equality had best not hold their breath waiting.  Today he reversed his long standing position and not only supports it but says DOMA should be repealed.

Thank you Senator.

A statement today from Equality Pennsylvania:

Equality Pennsylvania Applauds U.S. Senator Bob Casey’s Leadership

Harrisburg – Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey announced his support for extending the freedom to marry to all loving, committed couples. His announcement follows weeks of pressure from Equality Pennsylvania and its partners, including Keystone Progress and Marriage Equality for Pennsylvania.

“We applaud Senator Casey’s courage and leadership,” said Ted Martin, executive director of Equality Pennsylvania. “Marriage matters for all families, and Senator Casey’s support for marriage for all committed couples puts him squarely on the right side of history.”

Over the past several weeks, fair-minded Pennsylvanians flooded the Senator with more than 10,000 calls and e-mails. They were urging the Democratic Senator to join with the majority of his colleagues in the Senate and endorse marriage for all couples. Senator Casey had been one of less than 10 Democrats in the Senate who hadn’t voiced support for extending the freedom to marry to same-sex couples.

“Across the country, we’ve seen an incredible sea change in public opinion on this issue. As Americans come to know their gay coworkers and neighbors, they’re coming to support the freedom to marry for all loving couples,” said Martin. “Like most of us, Senator Casey has given the issue a lot of thought, and he’s realized how much it hurts committed same-sex couples to be denied the protection, dignity, and respect of marriage.”

From Rep. Brian Sims who sent the Senator a letter last week on the issue:

April 1, 2013 (PHILADELPHIA): Pennsylvania State Representative Brian Sims (D – Phila.) today applauded Senator Bob Casey for coming out in support of same-sex marriage. Rep. Sims had just last week penned an open letter to the Senator urging him to stand up and voice his support for LGBT equality.

“Senator Casey is a thoughtful and contemplative man who today not only listened to the millions of voices of Pennsylvanians calling for him to support same-sex marriage, but strongly voiced that support as well,” Rep. Sims said. “I am pleased to see Senator Casey responding to the voices of his constituents and am eager to work with him in reaching out to the hundreds of thousands of LGBT Pennsylvanians who can now count on his support for LGBT equality.”

On Thursday of last week, Rep. Sims, Pennsylvania’s first openly gay elected state legislator, penned an open letter to Senator Casey urging him to take a stand and voice his support for LGBT equality.

“Senator, the same people who voted for me, voted for you, and I am so excited to report that a vast majority of them now support LGBT equality.” Rep. Sims wrote in his open letter. “So too do a majority of your Democratic colleagues. In fact, as of [March 28] you are one of only nine Democrats in the Senate who does not support marriage equality.”

Along with Rep. Sims, a chorus of hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians flooded Senator Casey’s offices with letters and phone calls asking him to support same-sex marriage in efforts led by Equality Pennsylvania, Keystone Progress, and Moveon.org.

Equality Caucus Grows to 58 Members

Harrisburg’s Equality Caucus doubled its membership since the previous session of the state legislature.  Three Republicans also have joined the LGBT supportive group.  Mike Fleck, Chris Ross and Tom Murt joined 55 Democrats.  Rep. Brian Sims is the first openly gay person to be elected in Pennsylvania.  Fleck became the first openly gay member when he came out late last year.

News & Notes January 3, 2013

This is our first News and Notes of 2013.  I wish everyone a Happy New Year.

The 113th Congress was sworn in today and new Pennsylvania members Keith Rothfus and Matt Cartwright were sworn in to office.  The previous Congress was the most ineffectual in history and this one bears a striking resemblance.

Former State Rep. Joe Brennan is headed to jail for DUI and wife beating.  A judge sentenced him to between 90 days and 2 years.  He lost his seat over the incident and may as well use the time to dry out.  He’s had an obvious drinking problem for some time.

Marriage equality began in Maryland on the first and many couples began hitching up.  You can now get legally wed in Delaware, Maryland, New York and DC but not in Pennsylvania.

Brian Sims, the first openly gay lawmaker elected to the state legislature was sworn into office Tuesday.  Rep. Daryl Metcalfe has already submitted his perennial bill outlawing marriage equality.

The first bill introduced in Congress wasn’t about gun control, immigration reform, renewing the lapsed Violence Against Women Act, a farm bill or Hurricane Sandy Relief.  It was Rep. Bachmann’s bill to repeal Obamacare.  Republicans have already wasted 32 votes on this windmill tilting.

Hillary Clinton was discharged from a hospital after four days of treatment for a blood clot.  This apparently was the result of the non-existent (according to Faux News) concussion she faked in order to avoid testifying to Congress about Benghazi.  Yes, she faked a life threatening situation just to avoid a few ridiculous witch hunt queries.  Fox should be ashamed for accusing her of faking such a serious injury (said from someone who suffered six moderate to severe concussions).

As I mentioned above the Violence Against Women Act expired with the new year.  Now women lack basic legal protections because Republicans didn’t believe women in same sex relationships, Native American women and others also deserved protection.  Shame.

I’d like to play poker with Barack Obama.  The man folds even when holding all the aces.  After going over the fiscal cliff Republicans faced all of the blame because the country understood they were holding tax cuts for the middle class hostage for continued cuts for the richest 1%.  No GOP Congressman or Senator with any sanity was going to risk being labeled this way (though some did vote against the final bill and will be).  The President held all the cards and still completed a bad deal.  Included are tax breaks for Goldman Sachs (surprise, surprise), NASCAR and other special interests.

Trans Ocean, one of the corporations responsible for the Gulf oil spill disaster paid a federal fine of $1.4 billion today.  Eleven workers died due to its negligence.  This was a drop in the bucket for a multi-national company.  If corporations are legally persons they should have gotten the death penalty for killing 11 workers.

A Swiss bank pled guilty to aiding the tax evasion efforts of rich Americans.  Wegelin & Co. hid more than $1.2 billion from the IRS and paid a fine of $74 million.  Just another cost of doing business.

Former UFCW Local 1776 head Wendell Young III passed away this week.  Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family.

Delaware Senator Chris Coons delivered this speech defending our privacy rights:

The FISA Act passed.

The 9 craziest things Fox News said last year according to one source.  Only 9???

Reaction to Rep. Fleck’s Coming Out Positive

The overall reaction to Rep. Mike Fleck’s coming out story seems to be positive.  Now the first official openly gay state lawmaker the Republican from Huntingdon County has been embraced by the LGBT community.  Equality Pennsylvania welcomed his announcement and Brian Sims, newly elected from Philly’s Gayborhood wrote a piece about him for The Huffington Post.  A segment from his article:

First, I hope that this moment can help each of us reflect on our own personal lives and the many trails we travel. As they say, “life is a journey” and we are all entitled to walk our own paths, at our own pace. Coming out is a process that is different for everyone. Over the entirety of our lives we all struggle to better know ourselves — gay, straight or otherwise — and we should be encouraging and supportive of those who have the courage to be true to themselves.

The closet isn’t a nice place to live and we welcome Rep. Fleck’s acceptance of who he is.  I also hope the people of his District admire the courage it took for him to be publicly who he is privately.  This is especially difficult for a Republican and more so for a conservative in a place like Huntingdon County.  This, after all, is also Sen. Eichelberger’s region.

I hope Rep. Fleck attends some gay pride events and sees the scope of the LGBT community and feels welcome as one of us.  As long as he refrains from voting against his own community in Harrisburg we welcome him with open arms.  Along with Mr. Sims Pennsylvania will have two sitting openly gay State Representatives.  The closet door is swinging open even in those hallowed halls.

State House Endorsement: Babette Josephs

Babette Josephs is in the fight of her career to keep her House seat in Center City Philadelphia.  Attorney Brian Sims is challenging her after serving as her campaign Treasurer in 2010.  He has raised $150,000 through extensive contacts nationwide.  Brian was an out football player at Bloomsburg and tours the nation speaking on campuses about LGBT issues.  He is the past President of the Board of Directors of Equality Pennsylvania.  Brian is a great guy and would make a good State Representative.  The problem is that Center City already has a great State Representative.

I’ve had a few issues with Babette, nothing major.  I wasn’t happy when, as Chair of the State Government Committee she buried legislation which would have mandated a citizens Reapportionment Commission.  Then, after the 2010 primary her campaign stiffed me on an $80 flash drive I’d loaned them.  I’m not going to let that personal feeling dictate my endorsement decision however.

Rep. Daryl Metcalfe is the extremist, fringe Republican currently chairing the State Government Committee.  He’s ruling over it like the fascist he is and Babette is standing up to him, every day.  She is in Harrisburg standing up for all of us, representing us in a very progressive manner and defending women’s rights, gay rights and civil liberties.  She is fearless and refuses to be bullied.  I can’t imagine not having her on our side fighting our battles against the far right wing agenda.

Sims wouldn’t have the kind of influence, power and clout which Josephs brings to Harrisburg.  When the going gets tough I want Babette in there fighting for us.

Debating Marriage Equality

Next Monday Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach will debate Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage at Harrisburg Community College.  Leach is the sponsor of marriage equality in Harrisburg.  His bill would legalize same sex marriage.  Gallagher is infamous for her bigotry and intolerance on the issue.  The event is February 8th at 7:30 PM at the Cooper Student Center.  Sen. Leach debated Sen. John Eichelberger last year on WHYY in Philadelphia and the Senator from Altoona said “we allow gays to exist.”  He refused to debate Daylin again.

I’ve never heard anyone debate this issue as well as Daylin Leach.  As a straight, married man he gives real impetus and invaluable credibility to the LGBT community on the issue.  He sat on a panel about this issue at Saturday’s Pennsylvania Progressive Summit.  If you don’t know Daylin he’s a very funny, witty, and self deprecating guy.  How many State Senators would post on their Facebook pages how they locked themselves out of their home in 12 degree weather in nothing more than a t-shirt and gym shorts?  Brrr.  The teasing he took on that was hilarious.  One of his arguments to opponents of equal rights for all is directed towards their dislike of gay sex.  This should be a reason FOR marriage equality according to Leach since everyone knows once you get married you never have sex again.  I’m looking forward to this debate and will attend and live blog the discussion.  I wonder if Maggie has any idea what she’s in for….