Human Rights Campaign President Urges Pennsylvania Representatives to Reject Discrimination
'Pennsylvanians deserve a constitution that protects all families, not one that separates out a group of your constituents for discrimination,' said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.
WASHINGTON - Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese sent the following letter to the 203 members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, who are considering an amendment that would put discrimination into the state constitution and deny critical protections to thousands of Pennsylvania families.
June 26, 2006
Members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120-0028
Dear Honorable State Representative,
Pennsylvanians deserve a Constitution that protects all families, not one that separates out a group of your constituents for discrimination.
As you consider House Bill 2381, I am urging you on behalf of our more than 32,000 members and supporters in Pennsylvania to vote against discrimination and vote against H.B. 2381, or any amendment denying legal recognition to unmarried couples.
The Pennsylvania Constitution was created to expand rights, not take them away. This vote is motivated by anti-gay politics and it's wrong.
Furthermore, this amendment could have sweeping consequences for the protection of civil rights of all Pennsylvanians. Once a Constitution is amended to take rights away from a group of people, it sets a dangerous precedent for everyone.
We should join with the U.S. Congress and eight state legislatures - Alaska, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Washington and West Virginia - that have defeated discriminatory amendments this year already. In New Hampshire, 82
Republicans in the House voted down the measure. Another three states are likely to defeat discriminatory marriage amendments by the end of the year.
Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter's vote against moving forward with an amendment to the U.S. Constitution this spring not only reversed his position from two years ago, but also puts him on the right side of history. Our elected officials must vote with a deep commitment to protect all of their constituents, not use a group of them as political pawns.
I urge you to reject the politics of discrimination, division and fear. Anything that treats gay and lesbian families as second-class citizens is inexcusable and un-American.
President of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality
The Pennsylvania House passed an amendment that would deny not only marriage but also civil unions and domestic partnership benefits on June 6, 2006, by a 136-61 vote. The Senate amended the language of the bill, removing the ban on civil unions and domestic partnerships, a maneuver that angered the extreme right. That version passed the Senate by a 38-12 vote. The House is now considering that bill.
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.