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Fighting 'marriage protection' in Pennsylvania

The bible-beaters in Pennsylvania are salivating as a “Marriage Protection Amendment” bill starts its trip through the legislature. This one bans civil unions, and place domestic partnership benefits in jeopardy. The language:

“Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this commonwealth, and neither the commonwealth now nor any of its political subdivisions shall create or recognize a legal status identical or substantially equivalent to that of marriage for unmarried individuals.”

The Pennsylvania Family Institute and Pennsylvania for Marriage folks are clear that the fight is not just about the word “marriage,” and it will be tough to build a successful opposition effort in Santorum country.

Blender and blogger Nathan Henning of Nathan Ranting wrote in and said he like some help in organizing Pennsylvania blogger/activists.

The supporters of the Pennsylvania state marriage amendment have a huge advantage: organization. Simply with an email to their “church ops” network, they put church bulletin inserts in front of hundreds of thousands of constituents.

Where is the central message of the Equal Rights camp on the day that press conferences are being held in the Capitol Rotunda? The ACLU of PA (not even on their homepage!?!?), Liberty PA, and a smattering of bloggers. We’ve got to do better.

Pennsylvania equality supporters need a centralized point of information, education and collaboration. I’ve begun a Wikipedia page on the Pennsylvania Marriage Amendment and would invite as many as possible to responsibly participate. The goal? To keep them honest. We will shine the light of accountability and truth on this process.

The only way to defeat discrimination is through education.

PastorDan over at Street Prophets took up Nathan on his offer to join the wiki, and emailed me that he’s giving the wingers something to chew on over at his fine pad (it was also published in the Lancaster Sunday News.). A snippet:

Look at the list of states with defense-of-marriage bills either on the ballot or in process: Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia, and Wisconsin. One thing should jump out at you almost immediately: nearly all of these are swing states in this year’s fall elections. South Carolina is the only one without a race that could be reasonably in play.

Our own situation is instructive. Rick Santorum has made a career out of representing conservative Christians. He’s also getting crushed in the polls against Bob Casey, Jr., by as much as 50-35. If he’s to have any hope of retaining his seat, he’ll need to get those value voters motivated. Hence his appearance in favor of Samuel Alito at Justice Sunday III, sponsored by some of the same organizations pushing for the marriage amendment.

Now, I know that some people will say that I’m being far too cynical, that this is about defending a concept of absolute truth as defined by Biblical morality. It says in Leviticus that a man shall not lie with another man, and that’s all we need to know.

To which I say: fine. I’m a Christian, and I’m comfortable debating scripture. But the proper place for scriptural debate is in the church, not state legislation. Like it or not, we live in a nation marked by ever-increasing diversity. Sooner or later, we will have to reconcile ourselves to the notion that not everyone shares our values–or our religion. To do otherwise is to create a religious litmus test for full participation in our society, the very thing many of our ancestors fled.

Head over to Street Prophets for more.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding