Gay marriage battleground

HARRISBURG. Now that Pennsylvania’s budget is almost finished, lawmakers are working on issues like whether to allow same-sex marriages.

A bill by Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, would let gays and lesbians marry. Sen. John Eichelberger, R-Blair, plans to resurrect a constitutional amendment prohibiting it.

Leach doesn’t expect Pennsylvania to allow gay marriage for a few years. But he thinks it’s inevitable, citing a Columbia University study showing more support of same-sex marriage among younger people and in states allowing it.

Eleanor Rossman of Pennsylvania for Marriage said gay marriages aren’t inevitable here. They’ve been denied in each of the 31 states where people have voted on it – including Maine this month.

Pennsylvania law already says marriage is between a man and a woman, and gay marriage bans have died in Harrisburg twice since 2006. Opponents see a threat now from Leach’s proposal and other states where gay marriage was approved in court, Eichelberger said.

Jake Kaskey of Equality Advocates Pennsylvania said his group is focusing on a bill banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

“What’s the sense of getting married if you can get fired for putting a photo of your spouse up at work?” he asked.

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