SB 707: Pennsylvania Marriage Protection Amendment
Senate Bill (SB) 707 has been introduced into the Pennsylvania State Senate. SB 707 is the Pennsylvania Marriage Protection Amendment. It would put these 20 simple words into our State Constitution to define marriage:
“Only the union of one man and one woman shall be valid and recognized as a marriage in this Commonwealth.”
Currently our state has a ‘Defense of Marriage Act’ or DOMA which defines marriage as a union of a man and a woman. As we have seen in states like Iowa and California, activist judges have overturned state DOMA’s and declared it unconstitutional. SB 707 will protect marriage as the union of husband and wife.
In states like Massachusetts and Iowa, legislators have passed laws that define marriage to include same-sex couples. In Pennsylvania there is a bill that, if passed, would legalize same-sex “marriage” in our state and recognize same-sex “marriages” performed in other states. Without passing SB 707, we leave Pennsylvania vulnerable to having our marriage laws radically redefined.
The Supreme Court of Iowa ruled that same-sex couples can now marry. The ruling invalidates Iowa’s 1998 Defense of Marriage Act, which limited marriage to the union of husband and wife. Like Pennsylvania, Iowa requires an amendment to pass through two successive sessions of the Legislature before the citizenry can vote. Also like Pennsylvania, according to an April 6, 2009, article on IowaPolitics.com, most of Iowa’s legislators assured constituents that, “Iowa’s Defense of Marriage Act is solid and will pass any court challenge; therefore a constitutional amendment is unnecessary.”
That’s exactly what many Pennsylvania Legislators have said over the past two attempts to pass a marriage amendment here. If Iowa’s DOMA wasn’t safe, neither is Pennsylvania’s.
It is time for Pennsylvania’s legislature to act now, too. The legislative process must begin now to allow the people to determine the meaning of marriage.