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« on: March 22, 2006, 04:00:10 AM »

Penn. Marriage Amendment Faces Uphill Battle, Pro-Family Leader Predicts

by Allie Martin
March 20, 2006

(ChristiansUnite.com) - - A marriage protection amendment for Pennsylvania has taken its first step in the legislative process. The legislation that would allow the state's voters to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution in order to define marriage as the union between one man and one woman has been approved by the House State Government Committee.

The legislation must get through two consecutive sessions of the General Assembly before voters can decide the issue. Diane Gramley, president of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania, says the referendum faces a tough battle, largely because of the state's largest city.

"Philadelphia is very liberal," Gramley points out. "If we don't win Philadelphia on this issue, I'm afraid we're not going to win the issue across the state, because Philadelphia just has such political clout -- and a lot of votes."

The pro-family leader says that is one of the main concerns. Another, she notes, is "the misconception that this is a civil rights issue." And although many pro-homosexual groups and activists claim denial of homosexuals' so-called "right to marry" is a matter of civil liberty and justice, Gramley contends, "it's not a civil rights issue. Even Rev. Jesse Jackson says same-sex marriage is not a civil rights issue."

Liberal reactions to the amendment as well as the rhetoric opposing it, have been strong. One lawmaker who opposes the legislation compared those favoring traditional marriage to the Taliban.

But according to Gramley, despite the many challenges the state Marriage Protection Amendment was voted out of the House State Government Committee by a vote that fell pretty much along party lines. "We had one Republican defector," she notes, "and all the Democrats voted against it. So that was the ending vote, 15-13."

Now that the legislation has made it out of the House Committee, the AFA of Pennsylvania spokeswoman explains, for its next step the amendment must go before the full House. Meanwhile, she notes, "We still have to get it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee before it can be brought to the full Senate."

Gramley and other pro-traditional marriage supporters of the amendment are cautiously optimistic about the legislation. If it clears the remaining legislative hurdles, she says the earliest the referendum could get to the state's voters would be November 2007.

Penn. Marriage Amendment Faces Uphill Battle, Pro-Family Leader Predicts

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