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Philadelphia Passes LGBT Health Bill, and a Civil Union Bill is Introduced in Pennslvania

Pennsylvania Rep. Mark Cohen has introduced a civil union bill in Pennsylvania.

Mark_cohenPhilly Mag's Josh Middleton reports:

According to a press release I received from Cohen’s office, the bill would define a civil union “would make all state laws applicable to marriage also applicable to a civil union. The bill also would allow reciprocity for civil unions performed legally in other states and the recognition of same sex-marriage in other states as civil unions in Pennsylvania.”

In the press release, Cohen calls civil unions exactly what they are: a “middle-of-the-road compromise position between constitutionally banning and permitting gay marriages.” And just to appease those religious dissenters, he states that, “Nothing in this bill would require any religion or any clergyman to perform any ceremony uniting people in a civil union. This legislation will merely offer committed gay couples the same legal rights that are bestowed upon married people without the status of marriage.”

In other LGBT-related Pennsylvania news, the Philadelphia City Council has voted to approve a broad LGBT health benefits bill, PGN reports:

Bill 130224, which passed with a 14-three vote, would not only give a tax credit incentive to businesses that offered employee health plans that would include same-sex partners and children, but it would also include a substantial amount of benefits to the transgender community as well.

The bill ,which was introduced by Councilman Jim Kenney, would revamp the city’s health care plan to ban discrimination against non-union transgender city employees and would instate a Transgender Health Tax Credit that would allow companies to offer healthcare specific-needs to the transgender community.

City buildings would also be required to provide gender-neutral bathroom and would also ban employment discrimination in the city’s non-discrimination law.

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  1. Decades? No, it won't take decades.

    A lot depends on what SCOTUS does. If SCOTUS punts on DOMA, the timeline is extended. If SCOTUS eliminates Section 3 then the pathway is accelerated.

    It's true that there aren't a huge amount of available states remaining for us to know we can and should absolutely win in, but we should get California and New Jersey soon. Illinois could come this year or next. Those are three big states and winning in those states that will lead to more momentum. Ultimately it will be through litigation more than likely, that full equality will be achieved.

    This isn't an easy fight but it's one we will do everything we can to win. And win we will.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Apr 25, 2013 7:15:25 PM


  2. Wrong again Rick. Undoing the constitutional amendments on the state level will be no more difficult than it was for the other side to put them in. In most cases, that means one statewide vote. In a few cases, it means a vote by the state legislature followed by a statewide vote. That process will occur in waves.

    First, there are states w no amendments to deal with. Then, we deal with the amendment states. Oregon is going to happen next year. We will work the easier states first and while that is going on, public opinion will continue to move. After states like NJ, HI, OR and NV are done, we move on to the purple states like CO and OH and MI. All this will take time and by the time it is done, even southern states like FL and VA will have moved a lot and will be do-able. This can all happen within 10 years.

    IMO, by the time we get to about 25 states or so, SCOTUS will find a federal constitutional right to marriage. But even if it doesn't, we will get the job done, no thanks to you.

    Posted by: Emmile | Apr 25, 2013 8:27:33 PM


  3. Undoing amendments to state constitutions that have been passed will take a bit more effort and we all have to be willing to participate.

    Districts for state assemblies (like the federal House of Representatives) have been gerrymandered over the years to almost guarantee that certain districts stay conservative. Trying to change district zoning is a decades long process. Trying to change the conservative mindset from either constituents or legislators, especially those from areas with heavy right wing religious populations, will not be easy.
    It's a battle that we have to face up to.

    Don't start to relax if you're from a state that has passed equality legislation.
    This is a nationwide battle.

    Posted by: JONES | Apr 25, 2013 9:28:07 PM


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