Gov. George O’Malley says he will sign marriage equality into law in Maryland today, reports CNN, making it the eighth state to do so in the country. Maryland will join our neighbors in New York in legalizing same-sex marriage, as well as New Jersey and Delaware – both of which now offer civil unions.
Pennsylvania, meanwhile, has yet to consider any legislation. And even if it did, Gov. Tom Corbett has already taken a firm stance against gay marriage. So much so that he supports the Pennsylvania Marriage Amendment Act, an amendment to the state constitution which would strip the rights of same-sex couples by establishing marriage between a man and woman exclusively.
Did you know Pennsylvania also does not protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, even though 21 other states, including our neighbors in Delaware, Maryland and New York, have laws against this kind of discrimination, according to Equality PA, and 12 other states also protect against gender identity bias – including New Jersey. Our state also doesn’t offer any hate crime protection, even though there’s been a rise in such crimes in the last few years.
And they call this a blue state?
But the good news is more than 15 municipalities in PA have picked up where the state has let us down, making it illegal to discriminate against LGBT people. And maybe we can take a page from Maryland’s playbook. Even if today’s gay marriage signing meets a referendum in November (opponents would have to collect more than 55,000 signatures to get the measure on the ballot) the governor has said he would fight to ensure that all of the citizens in the Old Line State are treated equally under the law.
Makes us wish we had an O’Malley in Harrisburg, too.