Friday, June 16, 2006

Pennsylvania invents time machine, inadvertently sets civil rights movement back decades

A lot of people joke about Pennsylvania being Philadelphia on one end, Pittsburgh on the other, and Alabama in the middle. Not having to bear the full brunt of the joke – I live in the non-Alabama part of the state – I’ve always taken that joke with a grain of salt. Not to mention that there’s some truth to the matter, but these days I’m feeling that truth more than ever.

The state’s House just passed on a bill that would amend PA’s constitution to include a ban on gay marriage, and also prohibits cities, counties and other subdivisions from overturning a mere “state-law”. Passed with flying colors too – 136 pro, 61 against.
Granted, this is just a mere step towards the goal, as it also needs to “pass the General Assembly in each of two successive two-year sessions and then win voter approval in a statewide referendum.” (Kim Lyons, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 7, 2006)
I honestly didn’t know what the turnout on a vote like that would be in the Ho(mophobic)use, but seeing that makes me cringe to think what’s going to happen in the Senate.
Let’s look at some of the main points of what’s happening here, though.
1. There are other issues like public transportation funding, property taxes, budget issues, and the appalling minimum wage that are currently being back-burnered.
2. Raising a lot of hype over this issue is clearly covering up that our elected legislators are doing nothing about those other issues.
3. Proponents of the bill speak of the concept of gay marriage ruining the sanctity of the institution, but as of 2004, for every two couples getting married, one was divorcing (the actual figures are 49.7%). This is up more than 3 times of the amount in 1954, when one couple divorced for every 6.25 couples getting hitched (16.06%). (Pennsylvania Dept. of Health, Bureau of Health Statistics and Research)

Pennsylvanians over the past fifty years have shown a growing disregard for the sanctity of marriage. So really what our buddies in the Ho’use are doing are voting to restrain the legal rights of the gay/lesbian community. Hey, why stop there? They shouldn’t be able to vote either, should they? Heck, that’d really help for when the bill would go up for voter approval in a statewide referendum…
While we’re at it, maybe blacks shouldn’t get married either. Or Jews – after all, we don’t even acknowledge the New Testament.

So while real issues like budget, funding needs, and the like go ignored, the Ho’use goes about trying to make some of its citizens very uncomfortable living here. These guys and gals aren’t even doing their job properly, but they want to stick their noses where they don’t belong.
Straight people are already wiping themselves with the “Sanctity of Marriage”, and doing the very thing that the Ho’use is worried will happen if gays are allowed to wed. So, the only conclusions we can draw here are:
1. A large segment of our elected officials are homophobes.
2. More likely, they want to ensure their reelection by “taking a stand” while letting more important stuff go untouched, so they can keep their perks while basically employing the work ethic of Homer Simpson. If they have to throw the gay community under the bus to do it, so be it.

All I can say is, whether or not this bill gets any further, it is a sad day to be a Pennsylvanian.
As a comedian recently said, "Gays should be allowed to be as miserable as the rest of us."
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