Civil rights organizations across Pennsylvania today commended Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach for his intention to introduce legislation that would grant full marriage equality to same-sex couples. The Value All Families Coalition praised Senator Leach's longstanding dedication to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, calling the proposed legislation an inspiring glimpse into the future of equality for all Pennsylvania couples.
"We absolutely look forward to the day when all Pennsylvania families can enjoy the same benefits and protections under the law that heterosexual couples currently have," said Jake Kaskey, policy and outreach coordinator of Equality Advocates Pennsylvania. "We are grateful for all of the work that Senator Leach has done on behalf of the LGBT community over the years and look forward to seeing full equality reached for all LGBT people."
Senator Leach's decision to introduce an inclusive marriage bill comes as other states, including Iowa and Maine, pass same-sex marriage legislation and one day after California's Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, an amendment to California's constitution prohibiting marriage between same-sex couples. It also comes at a time when the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is debating House Bill 300, legislation to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Pennsylvanians from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.
"Gay and lesbian couples deserve the same rights and responsibilities as all other married couples across Pennsylvania," said Andy Hoover, legislative director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania. "We look forward to demonstrating the need to recognize every relationship across Pennsylvania."
Senator Leach's proposed legislation, which is currently circulating for co-sponsorship, was announced just days after another state senator, John Eichelberger (R-Blair), announced his intent to introduce a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania.
Numerous studies have shown that states that grant marriage equality to all couples receive significant economic benefits. The New York City Comptroller issued a report this week declaring that marriage equality for LGBT couples in New York would garner the state an additional $210 million in revenue in the first three years.
The Value All Families Coalition is comprised of diverse statewide, regional, and local organizations that support equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Pennsylvanians.