Sen. Casey Endorses Marriage Equality

By Central Voice
U.S Senator Robert Casey, who had previously backed civil unions for same-sex couples, April 1 announced he was in full support of same-sex marriage. He now believes the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) should be repealed.

There are now 48 U.S. senators who support marriage equality, including 45 Democrats, two Independents and one Republican. There are nine remaining Democratic senators still opposed to same-sex marriage.

During the last week of March, Casey’s office received 10,000 calls and emails urging him to support same-sex marriage, according to a press release by Keystone Progress and MoveOn.org. Equality Pennsylvania also joined the effort to move the senator’s position with emails to its membership urging calls to Casey.

The pressure Casey faced reflected waves of media coverage when on March 26-27 the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments for and against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage.

Pennsylvania’s version of DOMA was passed in 1996 when Tom Ridge was governor. Ridge has since reversed his position as announced Feb. 28 by GOP operative Ken Mehlman and then reported out March 1 by digitaljournal.com’s Greta McClain, Michele Nix, of Ridge’s office, told Central Voice in an email.

A move by the business community to embrace equality as good for business propelled the issue further. The new Business Coalition for DOMA Repeal, a Fortune 500 effort, supports marriage equality through members like Marriott Corporation, A|X Armani Exchange, Aetna Inc., Biogen Idec, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Diageo North America, eBay Inc., Electronic Arts, Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group LLC, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, Replacements, Ltd., Sun Life Financial U.S., and Thomson Reuters.

Finally, Pennsylvania’s attitudes are changing, according to a February Franklin & Marshall College poll which found that on gay marriage, 52 percent of registered voters approve of same-sex marriage, while 41 percent oppose it. Although not statements of support for marriage equality, in related developments 30 municipalities across the state have anti-discrimination laws, many adopted in the last year.

PA State Representative Brian Sims (D – Phila.) joined the effort to persuade Casey to change his position. He penned an open letter to the Senator urging him to stand up and voice his support for LGBT equality.

Regarding Casey’s change in position, Sims said, “Senator Casey is a thoughtful and contemplative man who today not only listened to the millions of voices of Pennsylvanians calling for him to support same-sex marriage, but strongly voiced that support as well.”

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One Response to “Sen. Casey Endorses Marriage Equality”

  1. spiritualwalks Says:

    Where do you personally feel PA stands on DOMA? We are surrounded by states who enforce same sex marriage yet we ourselves don’t have it, do you think that will influence any decision on our leaders here in our state? I would personally think so myself.

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