Note: More resources about PA SB 707

It appears that the PA Senate Judiciary Committee will be taking up John Eichelberger’s SB 707 which would amend the PA constitution, writing discrimination into it. The bill would essentially change nothing except that the ban on same-sex marriage would be built directly into the constitution. The language of the bill would define marriage as between one man and one woman. Backers of the legislation believe that this will make it harder to overturn in the courts, but this really isn’t the case. There are states that have had a constitutional ban, and it has been found as unconstitutional just as easily as a simple law of the state.

The real motivation however, is simply to make LGBT people feel unwelcome and unwanted in Pennsylvania by pushing a religiously motivated position forward. Twice before conservatives have placed this issue before the Legislature, and twice before it has been defeated. If we are to defeat it again, we will need your help!

Members of the committee:Officers

Greenleaf, Stewart J., Chair

White, Mary Jo, Vice Chair

Leach, Daylin , Minority Chair

Scarnati, Joseph B., III, ex-officio

Majority

Browne, Patrick M.

Earll, Jane M.

Gordner, John R.

Orie, Jane Clare

Piccola, Jeffrey E.

Rafferty, John C., Jr.

At this point, the single most important thing you can do is mail (as in the good old postal mail) a short letter to each member of the Judiciary committee asking them to vote against this bill so that it is not introduced to the full Senate. Links to each member of the committee is below. Because the vote may be next week, it is imperative to do this TODAY!  You may send the same letter to everyone on the committee, but it is important that it isn’t just a form letter that all you did was sign. Take 10 minutes, and draft 250- 500 words explaining why you do not want to see this discrimination added to the state’s constitution. It is useful to say something about how this will impact you and your loved ones.

The time and money invested to write a short letter, get some stamps and mail these today can make the difference between this bill progressing further or being killed in committee. This is worth it!

Senators are much like you. They receive a ton of junk mail and form letters, and even their staff doesn’t have time to read everything. But a personal letter with your real signature on it is something that will definitely be read directly by the senator. I have been told that a senator that receives as few as 4 or 5 handwritten letters sees this as a reason to consider the request, where as receiving a thousand emails won’t.

Ask your friends, neighbors and loved ones to do the same. Have a letter-writing party this evening!

If you write a letter, and feel free sharing it, post it here to the blog as a comment. This can encourage and remind others to write their letters.

5 Comments

  1. Hi Tom, We sent letters to everyone above, sent them out yesterday. Hope others will too! Thanks for the advocacy coaching. H

  2. Hi Tom,
    Thanks for this. Should we send letters to their local or Harrisburg offices? Is there any particular argument that you see as central at this point? Thanks. H

    • Good questions!
      1) The Senators will be in their home districts over the weekend, and some will not go back to Harrisburg until late Monday, others may be sooner. Some it isn’t clear which is the better address. No matter which address you use, the letters will get read and reported to the Senator (if s/he doesn’t read them directly. I would just work hard to get them off into the mail ASAP. Anything you can do to make sure they get delivered ASAP.

      If you can’t get all the letters out at the same time, these are folks to send to first:
      Mary Jo White
      Stewart Greenleaf
      Jane Earle
      Jay Costa
      Wayne Fontana
      Jane Orie

      In terms of points, there are several that you can focus on, but I would emphasize how this will impact you and your loved ones. Other good points to address:
      1) Bill is not necessary. PA already prohibits same-sex marriage.
      2) Discriminatory practice that treats some Pennsylvanians as second class citizens.
      3) More important issues facing PA at this time, ask them to work on a budget that helps the state instead of trying to discriminate against some of us.

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