PSEC on HB 1434
Tomorrow, March 13, 2012, the Pennsylvania House State Government Committee will vote on HB 1434. This bill would make a constituional ban on marriage equality. The committee has 25 members, with the head of the Republican State Government Committee, Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler), being the lead sponsor of the bill. If this bill passes the committee tomorrow, it will head to the full Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
There are 15 Republicans and 10 Democrats on this committee.
There are 9 Representatives on the committee who are co-sponsors of HB 1434: Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler), Rep. Jim Cox (R-Berks), Rep. Matt Gabler (R-Clearfield, Elk), Rep. Rob W. Kauffman (R-Cumberland, Franklin), Rep. Jerry Knowles (R-Berks, Schuylkill), Rep. Timothy Krieger (R-Westmoreland), Rep. Mark Mustio (R-Allegheny), Rep. Brad Roae (R-Crawford), Rep. Jerry Stern (R-Blair).
There are 6 key swing votes who could defeat the bill in committee: Rep. Seth Grove (R-York), Rep. Lynda Culver (R-Northumberland, Synder), Rep. George Dunbar (R-Westmoreland), Rep. Eli Evankovich (R-Armstrong, Westmoreland), Rep. Glen R. Grell (R-Cumberland), Rep. Marcia M. Hahn (R-Northampton).
The letter below was delivered today on behalf of PSEC to all the Representatives on the State Government Committee.
From Pennsylvania Youth
TO: House State Government Committee Members
FROM: Jason Landau Goodman, Executive Director - The Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition
DATE: March 12, 2012
RE: State Government Committee Voting Meeting
Tomorrow you will be voting on HB 1434 which would implement a constitutional ban on marriage equality in our commonwealth. As a coalition representing thousands of young Pennsylvanians across our state from over 30 student organizations, I am writing to you on behalf of the Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition (PSEC) to urge you not to support this bill. We believe amending our state’s most sacred document with discrimination does not represent the best interests of Pennsylvanians.
When our legislators introduce bills with the specific purpose of denying certain people equal rights it sends a message to us youth that some lives are worth less than others. If we are to consider that we are all created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-28), then respectfully we must ask: what would be the message the Pennsylvania legislature wants to send its citizens following tomorrow’s vote?
We ask you as our legislators to focus on substantive issues we are facing every day in Pennsylvania including job creation and public safety. Legislating negative social policy has the potential to only hurt hard working Pennsylvanians. We believe this is especially true given that same-sex marriage is already not legal in Pennsylvania and there has been an overwhelming statewide decrease in support for this legislation since 2006.
We work with many of you already regarding safe schools issues. PSEC was founded last April to unite youth throughout the state to work on supporting anti-bullying efforts. Concerns about marriage equality are not part of our platform. However, legislative discussions regarding equal access to government toward any population by our elected officials directly impact the self-worth of Pennsylvania youth.
Tomorrow, you will be in effect discussing the human value of your neighbors, colleagues, friends, and family who may identify as gay or lesbian. Eventually, any negative statements that may be given tomorrow will be heard by a lonely middle school student contemplating hurting herself, or a teenager in rural Pennsylvania considering taking his own life. Your discussions tomorrow will influence our school-yard bullies and those who would incite violence against a person because of who they love.
I hope tomorrow you will not vote in favor of HB 1434 to show that love and respect can triumph over hatred, that the light can always overcome the darkness.
Jason Landau Goodman
Executive Director, The Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition