Sen. John Eichelberger Reports

Sen. John Eichelberger is infamous for implying straight people “allow gays to exist.”  His implication that we could all be exterminated enraged the LGBT community.  He has refused to apologize.  Now he has voted for the Mensch Amendment.  His district is in the Altoona area.  

2010 violations:

Blair County Arts Foundation:  $250 (event tickets)

The Blair Concert Chorale:  $100 (event tickets)

Bedford Sunrise Rotary:  $60 (tickets)

South Central Counties Boroughs Association:  $20 (tickets)

Bedford Friends of the NRA:  $50 (Donation)

Greater Altoona Jewish Foundation:  $25  (event ticket)

Altoona Association of Model Railroaders:  $50  (Donation)

Benefit Events:  $60 (tickets)

In 2008 Eichelberger filed only a year end cycle 7 report although he had expenditures raised throughout the year.  He raised money from July 7th on.  Failing to file cycle reports are violations.

2008 violations:

Tyrone-Snyder Public Library (tickets)

Tyrone Area Chamber:  $25

Bedford Business and Professional Women:  $58

Blair County Arts Foundation:  $150

Altoona Firefighters Local #299:  $40

Easter Seals Central PA:  $300

Senate Judiciary Committee Tables Marriage Amendment Bill

I suppose we’ll begin with the news all our new readers are coming for:  there’s no on eto out immediately.  I wrote last Friday in advance of yesterday’s State Senate Judiciary Committee meeting that any closeted Senators voting against their own rights would be making news.  I think it is legitimate news when these things happen.  Since then I have heard from several sources about Members of whom I wasn’t aware.  We’ll be looking into them.

Sen. Daylin Leach is my hero and I told him so yesterday.  To have such a staunch supporter in the straight community, such a well spoken and courageous ally is tremendous.  I slipped into the Committee room just before Chairman Greenleaf gaveled the session t order (thanks information people for sending me to the House Judiciary room).  No sooner did I find a seat in a very crowded room than Daylin moved to table Senate Bill 707.  This was Sen. John Eichelberger’s bill to define marriage in the Commonwealth as only between one man and one woman.  The vote carried the day 8-6.

I know some wanted to defeat this bill outright in an up or down vote.  It’s dead and I don’t care what the manner of death was, just as long as it is dead.  A vote to table isn’t the same as a vote up or down and we cannot assume the vote for or against would have been the same.  In an election year it is easy to table a controversial bill than vote aye or nay.

So what happened since the last vote?  Several things all of which are positive:  in my interview with Daylin he points to more and more LGBT citizens coming out.  It is harder to willfully discriminate against people you know, love or care for.  I also think Sen. Eichelberger damaged his argument when he said in a debate with Leach last year “that we’re allowing them to exist” in reference to the LGBT community.  This was as extreme a position as it is possible to take and I wonder how many Senators do not wish to be associated with such a position.

A veteran legislative assistant who also attended the Committee session was surprised at the large number of LGBT people, leaders and allies who packed the room.  We have never had such a turnout before.  I credit that to the statewide organizations we now have who got the word out about this bill and this vote.  Organizations which deserve recognition are, first of all Keystone Equality (they got 75,000 emails sent to Senators), ACLU of Pennsylvania, Equality Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Diversity Network.  All but the ACLU are new, statewide organizations and this is why we made an impact.

Did we change any votes with the threat to out closet cases?  There’s really no way of answering that question.  I know it had to be on their minds when I came into the Committee room.  The bottom line is that we won and that’s what I care about this morning.

Pennsylvania: Land of Sexual Apartheid

Pennsylvania is at a crossroads.  It has before it two bills only one of which can succeed.  The first gets a vote tomorrow in the Senate Judiciary Committee and it would enshrine sexual apartheid in our state constitution.  The other would allow any two adults to marry and enshrine equality as the law of our Commonwealth.  Will we travel the road of bigotry, discrimination and the denial of equal rights or the road of equality?

Independence Hall in Philadelphia is hallowed ground, the place where revolutionary concepts of freedom, liberty and equality were enshrined in our nation’s most sacred documents.  Ideas such as “all men are created equal,” that each of us is entitled to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  That equal justice under law is a basic human right, that all of us is equal unto the law.

The reality is that those concepts do not exist for everyone and they never have in America.  The people stand and recite a Pledge which is phony and hollow because there isn’t “liberty and justice for all” in America or Pennsylvania.  The system of sexual apartheid created two separate classed of citizens:  gay and straight.  Gay Americans pay the same taxes but get fewer rights.  This should be criminal, instead Sen. John Eichelberger wants to make it part of our constitution.

The Pennsylvania constitution already supposedly guarantees equal rights but that is a charade.  GLBT persons are denied the rights given to straight people who are allowed to marry.  Marriage is NOT a religious exercise it is a legal contract.  One in which the state and federal governments bestow hundreds of rights.  The right of inheritance, the right of survivorship, the right to share health benefits, the right to carry out your loved one’s final wishes.  The right to visit your partner in the hospital, the right to own property together.  Gay and lesbian couples are either denied these rights outright or must pay an attorney to draft the legal documents.  Straight people don’t have to pay a lawyer to set up such arrangements.  Straight people get all of these rights automatically by means of a certificate of marriage issued by the state.

All LGBT people ask is those same rights.  No one is asking for “special rights.”  Equal rights are equal rights and when people like John Eichelberger or Daryl Metcalfe seek to demean us even further it reinforces bigotry, intolerance and promotes violence.  When ignorant people are told some persons are less than others they see it as open season to express their special brands of hatred.

Pennsylvania was once the shining beacon of hope for freedom, liberty and equality for all.  Independence Hall still stands as the monument to that philosophy.  The Liberty Bell still stands in Philadelphia reminding us of those precious words:  “proclaim liberty throughout all the Land unto all the inhabitants thereof…”

Pennsylvania has never stood for discrimination, bigotry, hatred and the denial of rights unto its citizens.  Let us not begin tomorrow.

Somewhere there is a time for us, all of us.  Somewhere lies a land where all are free, where all are equal.  Someday will come when all of us can live equally, when all of us can love equally.  Take my hand tomorrow and we’ll be halfway there, come to Harrisburg and I’ll take you there…somewhere, somewhere where liberty and freedom exist for everyone…

The State Senate’s Bigotry

Do you remember last year when State Sen. John Eichelberger debated Sen. Daylin Leach about marriage equality?  He said this about the gay and lesbian citizens of Pennsylvania:  “we allow them to exist.”  No one “allows me to exist.”  The threat implied by those words outraged Pennsylvanians everywhere.  Eichelberger refused to debate Leach again because his real, Final Solution type attitudes slipped out over the public airwaves of WHYY.  He did sponsor legislation however outlawing equal rights in our Commonwealth.  John Eichelberger doesn’t believe that “all men are created equal” or in “equal justice under law.”  He wants to make discrimination in Pennsylvania legal and his actions doing so will encourage violence against GLBT persons.  After all, if these people are second class citizens under the law isn’t it OK to bash them, assault them or even kill them?  Isn’t that what Sen. Eichelberger meant when he said “we allow them to exist?”

This is a huge black eye on Pennsylvania’s reputation.  James Carville is famous for describing us as Philadelphia on one end, Pittsburgh on the other and Alabama in between.  This is an opportunity for Pennsylvanians to show the country that really isn’t true.  Next Tuesday the State Senate votes in committee on SB 707.  I urge all Senators to value every person regardless of sexual orientation, to value equal justice under law, to uphold our federal constitution and the 14th Amendment which guarantees equal justice and vote against Eichelberger’s notorious legislation.

I spend a fair amount of time in Harrisburg.  I know who is closeted.  Any closeted Senator who votes for Eichelberger’s bill will be outed.  I also know a State Senator who is wildly homophobic and is also an alcoholic.  One of her rants will also be made public depending on her vote.  This is fair warning.

Patrick Murphy the Chief Sponsor to Overturn DADT

Congressman Patrick Murphy has announced he will become the chief sponsor of The Military Readiness Enhancement Act which would overturn the failed policy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  GLBT service members have been serving nobly and well for centuries with few problems and it is time to allow them to do so openly.  DADT has been a disaster and most senior military leaders admit it should go.  No one should have to hide who they are.  While neanderthals like Sen. John Eichelberger falsely claim that “They’re not being punished. We’re allowing them to exist, and do what every American can do. We’re just not rewarding them with any special designation.”  The truth is gays and lesbians CANNOT do what every American can do.  We cannot marry, we cannot serve openly in the armed forces, we can not inherit, we cannot visit our partners in the hospital, we cannot be notified when our partners are killed or injured in battle and we cannot receive the flag at their military funerals.

There are over 1,000 federal rights bestowed on married couples which are denied to members of the GLBT community.  John Eichelberger is woefully ignorant of this fact but fortunately heroes like Congressman Patrick Murphy are.  We salute Patrick for this contribution.

Eichelberger’s Campaign Contributions

Sen. John “Himmler” Eichelberger has a clever campaign slogan.  He plasters his Senatorial District with “I Like Eich” signs.  They harken back to an era when Dwight Eisenhower used the slogan, women were repressed, Blacks were lynched and gays and lesbians were forced to be invisible.  The 1950’s were only a good era if you were white, male, Anglo-Saxon and Protestant.  They were a time of awful oppression for everyone else.  No wonder Sen. Himmler invokes those selective memories in his campaign.

Here are the Senator’s biggest contributors.  Feel free to hassle them about Eich’s comments and ask if they support his contention about “allowing gays to exist.”  Ask why anyone finding the Senator offensive should do business with them.

Richard Scaife, Bob Guzzardi, and Glen Meakem are this Nazi’s biggest contributors. No amount of pressure will convince any of them their investments were bad.  The corporations like Sheetz can be convinced not to give again.  Go into your local Sheetz and tell them you will no longer do business with people who support someone who thinks you ought not to exist.

Call the doctors and lawyers and ask them why they support this guy.  Let’s embarrass every one of them for supporting Eichelberger.  We can cut off his money this way.  What really disgusts me about Guzzardi is he made his money from the gay community in Philadelphia.  This is a real betrayal.

Logan Partnership, Altoona  Real estate developer $5,000  (814) 944-6127

Todd Eichelberger Real estate developer $115,000  (814) 942-3032

Gerald and Heather Harrington Duncansville  $1500  

Developer and attorney

Neil & Lois Kaneshiki  physician  $2500

Duncansville

2525 9th Avenue, Altoona, PA   (814) 942-6038

James & Yvonne Morgan  physician  $1500

Lewisburg  570.523.3290

Michael Humphrey & Jane Rowe  Hollidaysburg $750

physicians Lewisburg

DR. JOHN M. TEMPLETON, JR West Conshohocken $4000

Bob Guzzardi, Philadelphia In kind contributions totaling $49,425  

Pat Toomey Republican Majority Fund $2,000

Family PAC Pittsburgh  $2,000

Progressive Leadership Pittsburgh $1000

Scranton 2006  $50,000

Glen Meakem Sewickley  $50,000

Hok Fung Yau  United Computer Products Co. Altoona  $9000

2032 E Pleasant Valley Boulevard  (814) 943-1133

Sheetz PAC  $1150

5700 Sixth Avenue

Altoona, PA 16602

800.487.5444

Friends of Jeff Piccola $10,000

B. Anthony & Edith Delserone, Wexford Federated Investors  $2,000  (412) 288-1900

Bill Shuster for Congress  $225

Friends of Jake Corman  $5000

Earll for Senate  $1,000

Friends of Joe Scarnati  $1,000

Friends of Sen. Don White  $1000

Ronald H. Muhlenkamp  Butler Muhlenkamp & Co. Inc.  $4,000  (724) 935-5520

Duane Dilling Loysburg Physician $5200

2230 Woodbury Pike, Loysburg, PA  (814) 766-3485

DAVID E. & WENDY H. BARENSFELD Ellwood City Ellwood Group Inc.  $4,000

790 Commercial Avenue, Ellwood City, PA  (724) 752-3680

Howell A. Breedlove Pittsburgh Keystone Profiles $1000

220 7th Avenue, Beaver Falls, PA    (724) 506-1500

CLYDE S. & DANA M. MCMILLEN Loysville veterinarian $2,000  (717) 789-3121

Tri County Veterinary Services

1041 Montour Rd

Loysville, PA 17047-9216

CARROLL P. & DIANE S. OSGOOD Hollidaysburg physician $6000

501 Howard Avenue, Altoona, PA  (814) 946-9150

SANDRA L. & THOMAS J. USHER Hollidaysburg $10,000

ROBERT M. & SHIRLEY D. GORDON Sewickley Gordon Travel  $2,000

Richard M. Scaife Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Tribune Review $40,000

(412) 321-6460

MICHAEL J. & TAMMY S. DRASS Duncansville Physician $1000

1402 9th Avenue, Altoona, PA   (814) 940-2000

JOHN D. & KIM E. LITTLEJOHN Hollidaysburg physician $5,000

EDWARD P. FISCHER New Enterprise physician $2,000

ANDREWS & BEARD LAW OFFICES Altoona  $500

3366 Lynwood Drive, Altoona, PA  (814) 943-3304

FREDERICK B. GIEG. JR.  Attorney  Altoona $500

401 North Logan Boulevard, Altoona, PA  

(814) 946-1606

TERRY W. DESPOY Attorney Altoona $1,000

109 Byron Avenue, Altoona, PA  (814) 942-4388

Robert H. Long, Jr. Attorney  $300

213 Market Street 9th Floor, Harrisburg, PA

(717) 255-7600 or (717) 237-7160

Lewis, Eckert, Robb and Company Attorneys  $300

Plymouth Meeting

Craig A. and Patricia E. Eisenhart  $490

Mill Creek

Bruce J. Thaler Dentist  $490

Altoona

200 Union Avenue, Altoona, PA  (814) 942-1890

Paul I. and Sandra K. Detwiler, III  $4000

Everett

Pileggi For Victory $1,000

AT&T PAC $890

Rafferty For Senate  $2000

Friends of John Perzel  $10,000

IBEW Local 5 PAC $75

Blue PAC $300

Value Drug PAC  $300

Verizon Communications PAC $399

Mellon Financial PAC $300

Highmark PAC  $700

First Energy PAC  $300

Sun PAC (Sunoco) $300

Exelon PAC $300

Comcast PAC  $300

Brian D. and Brigid J. Dodson  physician  $490

Hollidaysburg

810 Valley View Boulevard, Altoona, PA  (814) 946-5469

Jonathan F. Grier physician  $1000

Hollidaysburg

2525 9th Avenue # 2A, Altoona, PA

(814) 941-7170

Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis, LLP

Pittsburgh  Attorneys  $400

Donald Devorris Realty $500

Altoona

Ralph J. Albarano, Jr.  Ralph J. Albarano and Sons, Inc.  $500

1873 Old Route 22, Duncansville, PA  (814) 695-9883

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Sen Eichelberger Refuses to Apologize

Echoes of the holocaust resounded around the state Capitol this afternoon as Sen. John Eichelberger refused to recant, apologize for or explain his recent statement about gays and lesbians:  “we’re allowing them to exist.”

Sen. John “Himmler” Eichelberger met briefly with gay and straight protesters after ducking them twice as a group of twenty people asked for an apology for his horrific statements recently about GLBT people.  The Senator steadfastly refused to apologize or make any explanation for saying “we’re allowing them to exist” in a WHYY debate with Sen. Daylin Leach about gay and lesbian issues.

I asked the Senator if he meant he has the right to deny my existence and he refused to respond while ducking into the Senate chamber and leaving security to bar me.

I’ve heard few more explosive statements from legislators than this one.  It implies the state, especially since this bigot is a State Senator, can deny us our right to exist.  This harkens back to the days of the holocaust and various campaigns of genocide by majority populations against minorities.  Sen. Eichelberger has introduced legislation legalizing discrimination against GLBT people in Pennsylvania and it is a slippery slope to go from there to denying certain people their right to exist.  

Any state legislator co-sponsoring or voting with Sen. Eichelberger stands with him in his statements. Anyone supporting his extremism will be considered as supporting his statements and positions.

I found it incredible that the Senator would offer no explanation for his comments.  The fact he knew we would be at his office at noon and chose not to be there showed his cowardice.  It was not until we waited an hour and returned that his receptionist allowed us a few minutes with the Senator in an additional hour.  Then he refused to spend more than a moment and refused to answer simple questions hiding behind Capitol security.

John Eichelberger has shown his true colors and his true agenda:  he only allows allows gays and lesbians to exist and can revoke that right with legislation.  The fact he is a Senator is frightening because he can introduce such legislation at any time.  Perhaps it is time for every gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered person in Pennsylvania to stand up and insist they be allowed to exist.  Perhaps it is time for all GLBT people in America to boycott Pennsylvania.  Why would anyone come here or do business here in this climate of hatred, bigotry and fear?

Update:  Sen. Himmler again showed what a coward he is by not showing up for a second radio debate with Sen. Daylin Leach this evening.  Maybe he was afraid what else he might say…

More video:

This is Mike Morrill of Keystone Progress speaking to reporters including me.

Sen. Eichelberger Unapologetic

Sen. John Eichelberger said on a debate on WHYY’s Radio Times about gays and lesbians:  “we’re allowing them to exist.”  This outrageous statement which echoes of the holocaust and genocide of Jews, gays and other minorities is resulting in further embarrassment for Pennsylvania that so many bigoted people exist in our state government.

Eichelberger responded to the outrage over his statement by blasting Mike Morrill of Keystone Progress for publicizing his remark.  That’s always a bad startegy for damage control when one says something truly outrageous:  insult the messenger rather than apologizing.  Here’s what the Senator who is sponsoring legislation to enshrine his bigotry said:

“This group [Keystone Progress] is a politically active group that goes around the country targeting people that are involved in this issue. If this is an example of how they conduct themselves then it’s difficult to continue dialogue and discussion, if people intentionally misportray the truth.”

Tomorrow Keystone Progress will host an event at the Capitol to protest Sen. Eichelberger’s statements and ask for an apology.  It is at noon.

Eichelberger: “We’re Allowing Gay People to Exist”

Two Pennsylvania legislators squared off in a forum on WHYY’s Radio Times show Friday morning.  Sen.Leach has introduced a bill legalizing same sex marriage in the Commonwealth and Sen. Eichelberger has introduced a bill enshrining discrimination and bigotry into the Pennsylvania constitution.  Host Marty Moske-Ewen had both on her show to discuss the bills.

Eichelberger went through the usual right wing and White House talking points equating gays and lesbians to pederasty, incest and such then topped it off saying “we’re allowing gays to exist.”  What’s his alternative the “final solution”attempted by Adolf Hitler?  Nazi Germany sought to kill not only Jews but homosexuals and the Roma (gypsies).  The pink triangle became a symbol of gay pride because Hitler’s Germany required all gays and lesbians to wear one.  Does Eichelberger propose a similar action now?  When he says “we’re allowing gay people to exist” this strikes me as meaning he can simply decide NOT to allow us to exist.

21:15

Leach:   How would he [Eichelberger] want to encourage stability in gay couples?

Eichelberger: I wouldn’t.  I mean they can practice whatever sexual activity they like to practice, but there’s no reason to give them special consideration.  We don’t give them special consideration in Pennsylvania for any reason.  Why in the world would we allow them to marry?

22:05

Leach:  How would he want to encourage stability in gay couples?

Eichelberger:  There is no reason to encourage that type of behavior in Pennsylvania.

24:20

Eichelberger:  That comes back to the definition of family and that’s where we differ.  We can call all kinds of things families.  I mean, we can say a 3 party marriage is a family, or 7 or 8 people or marrying younger and younger children these days .

25:00

Host:  Are you saying that by their very nature homosexual relationships are dysfunctional?

Eichelberger:  [Pause] Ummmm.  I guess I would say that.  I would say that.

38:50

Eichelberger:  This changes the definition of marriage, allowing same-sex, and then like I said, 5-10 years from now it’ll be polygamy, marrying younger people, it’ll be whatever…It won’t be a 6 year old, it’ll be a 15 year old, then it’ll be a 14 year old, then it’ll be a 13 year old.

49:40

Leach:  Should our only policy towards [same-sex] couples be one of punishment, to somehow prove that they’ve done something wrong?

Eichelberger: They’re not being punished. We’re allowing them to exist, and do what every American can do.  We’re just not rewarding them with any special designation.

This is why Sen. Leach’s bill is important.  There should be no separate classes of Americans under law.  There have been for too long under American jurisprudence.  Women, African Americans, Hispanics and GLBT people have long been subjects of discrimination.  Gradually we have eroded (not erased) much of this.  What remains is a system of sexual apartheid.  Two separate classes exist under law:  starights get the full benefits of the law while GLBT people do not.  Yet we all pay the same taxes.  Marriage equality, non discrimination bills, hate crime laws and such would establish equality and legal protections similar to those which were enacted to protect other minorities and women.