Pennsylvania fails to fully represent, support, respond to gay rights


So, same-sex marriage… I know it’s probably a term that you’re used to hearing by now, but let’s talk about it. Also, remember, you’re reading the Opinion section.

Gay rights have been an issue for many years now. But let me ask you something: what’s wrong with gay people? I’m openly gay. It’s fine with me, it’s fine with my family, and it’s fine with my friends.

My issue with gay rights is: how can we go and fight for equality in other countries, when there’s a huge equality gap here in the states? It’s just not right. Think back to Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement.

Many people can related with Martin Luther King, his words, and his vision for a brighter future, not just for African Americans, but for all Americans. Look how far we’ve come since then. There’s still much further to go.

So here’s the low-down on gay rights in Pennsylvania:

In 1973, homosexuality was declassified as an illness.

Homosexuality is legal (since 1980).

Gays are allowed to serve in the military (since 2011).

Access to IVF (in vitro fertilization) for lesbians.

Gay males are not allowed to donate blood. (Really? That seems a bit drastic. Doesn’t it?)

Pennsylvania’s current governor, Tom Corbett, is against gay marriage, and there’s even a bill in place now that has barred same-sex marriage since 1996.

Thirteen states and a territory in our country allow same-sex marriage: California, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts (who legalized same-sex marriage in 2004), Delaware, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine, Maryland, Washington, and Washington D.C.

So why not Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania is an “older” state. Not just because it’s the second oldest in the country, but because the population of our state is generally older in age.

I don’t want to generalize, and I’m not, but let’s face it, some older folks are more hesitant when it comes to change. They’ve grown up with a certain way of life, they were taught certain things, and that’s totally fine! However, times are changing, and things will continue to change even more as time goes on.

In fact, Corbett is actually using taxpayer money to defend Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage at a rate of $400 per hour. He’s spending that kind of money when, in reality, the majority of Pennsylvanians no longer support the ban. Even our elected State Attorney General, Kathleen Kane, said that she will not defend the ban.  Seems like a waste of money, don’t you think?

What about gay folks in the workplace? Do they get protection against discrimination? Nope.

There are ordinances in place in 33 municipality, but no state-wide law.

This year, over 100 members of the state legislature have agreed to sponsor a bill known as H.B (House Bill) / S.B. (Senate Bill) 300. It would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, and accomodations. An organization named “Equality Pennsylvania” spoke of the bill as “historic,” and that “over 100 legislators from the House and Senate have signed to sponsor this bill. We are thrilled to have the support of a record-breaking number of sponsors, Democrats and Republicans alike!”

If you agree that Pennsylvania, or any state should have same-sex marriage, as well as gay rights and everything associated with them, head on over to the Human Rights Campaign’s website at There, you can become a member, and fight for the rights of so many men and women alike. You could really help change the future.