Gay marriage supporters protest new bill

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Protestors against an amendment that would reinforce a ban on gay marriage, picketed in Pennsylvania yesterday.

Gay marriage supporters feel that a new amendment would have take away rights for all couples, gay and straight, because of bad wording.

The GOP endorsed change said, “Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognised as a marriage in this commonwealth, and neither the commonwealth now nor any of its political subdivisions shall create or recognize a legal status identical or substantially equivalent to that of marriage for unmarried individuals.”

A Republican Senator backed the protests, Joe Conti said “This proposal is unnecessary and timed for political gain before the upcoming election.”

Rep. Dan Frankel told protestors that the amendment would discriminate against thousands of families and make Pennsylvania an economic backwater, he claimed the amendment would ban civil unions, as well as domestic-partner benefits for public employees.

He said: “We must fight this irrational amendment. Progress on this issue is slow but it is steady. Look at Corporate America: about half of the Fortune 500 companies offer domestic-partner benefits, it’s just equal benefits for equal work. Eleven states provide these benefits to their employees, as do many major universities around the country. More than 8,000 U.S. companies now offer these benefits. While most of the country moves forward, passing this amendment would make us a backwater for economic development.”

“Who would want to come to Pennsylvania to invest, to teach, to learn, if we promote discrimination and intolerance?”

Stacey Sobel, executive director of the Centre for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights, one of the spokespersons for the Value All Families Coalition which organised the rally, said, “Nobody should be fooled into thinking that this is just about protecting marriage.”