In an effort to educate students about marriage rights, Temple’s Common Ground hosted “Marriage Equality Day” last Wednesday.
The student organized gay-straight alliance partnered with Hillel, Temple College Democrats, Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, Temple Students for Israel and Student Peace Alliance.
“Marriage equality is a movement for people in the world to grant a basic human right to all who seek it, and are not defined as a couple of one man and one woman ,” Common Ground Vice President Jeffrey Stanavitch said.
Clarissa Marks, a sophomore sociology major and education chair of FMLA, tabled with other FMLA members for Marriage Equality Day.
“The Feminist Majority Foundation believes that individuals who identify as LGBT should have equal rights, the same way women should have equal rights in America,” Marks said.
Jesse Breitbart, a senior kinesiology major, attended marriage equality day as a representative of Temple Students for Israel.
“Israel is very concerned about human rights,” and that the country is very accepting of same-sex couples, Breitbart said. “I believe that if two people love each other, then they should be aloud to be married. Who are we to judge?”
Currently, Massachusetts is the only state that allows same sex marriages. New Jersey, Connecticut and Vermont offer civil unions. Civil unions provide only state benefits in the state where they are performed and are not federally recognized because of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.
Pennsylvania State Sen. Mike Brubaker of the 36th district in Lancaster will be introducing Senate Bill 1250, the Marriage Protection Amendment, to the state senate in the next few weeks. Currently, Pennsylvania has a Protective Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman. The objective of Senate Bill 1250 is to write this definition of marriage into the state constitution.
The 36th district office chief of staff, Nathan Flood, said the purpose of the amendment would be to ensure that Pennsylvania’s definition of marriage could not be challenged in Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court. As a statute, the current Protective Marriage Act has the potential to be found unconstitutional. However, if added as an amendment to the constitution, it cannot be overturned.
Should the amendment pass, Pennsylvania will join 27 other states which have already added protective marriage acts to their state constitutions.
Emily Gleason can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.