A State Senator pushing for legalized same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania took on a staunch opponent of the issue in a Harrisburg debate last night.
Democrat Daylin Leach, who represents parts of Delaware and Montgomery Counties, wants Pennsylvania to join states like Connecticut and New Hampshire in legalizing same-sex marriage.
He discussed the issue with Maggie Gallagher, who heads the National Organization for Marriage.
Gallagher argued legalized gay marriage would lead to government crackdowns on institutions like the Catholic Church who oppose same-sex unions, drawing parallels to anti-racist statutes.
"The government gets involved to repress racism in a wide variety of ways. Professional licenses – can you be a doctor, a teacher, a social worker, a lawyer, if you openly advocate for racism or try to conduct your practice on racist lines? Well, probably not."
Gallagher says children ideally need to be raised in two-parent households, with both a mom and a dad. Senator Leach argues that logic should lead to support for same-sex marriage.
"You can’t say that there will be fragmented families, and fragmented families are a bad thing, but they’re not bad for gay people. I don’t want gay people’s families to be fragmented, either. I want their families to be as stable and committed and monogamous – all things that Maggie has written – that marriage encourages."
Gallagher made it clear she supports government efforts to repress racism – she just thinks opposition to same-sex marriage doesn’t belong in the same category. Leach said he’s open to strengthening religious protection language in future versions of same-sex marriage bills.
Pennsylvania law defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. There is legislation in the General Assembly that would amend the state constitution to include that definition of marriage so as to head off any court challenges to the current law.