"A federal court challenge to Pennsylvania's 17-year-old law banning the recognition of same-sex marriages took an important step toward a trial Friday when a judge rejected two different attempts to block the lawsuit and said high court treatment of cases involving sex and sexual identity have undergone a 'sea change.' U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III denied the motions to dismiss the lawsuit by Pennsylvania's secretaries of the departments of Health and Revenue and Bucks County's register of wills [Emphasis added.]. It is a strong sign the case is headed to trial and, potentially, the U.S. Supreme Court.... Lawyers for the plaintiffs, including the American Civil Liberties Union...said they were delighted with the decision....A spokesman for Gov. Tom Corbett said administration lawyers were reviewing the decision and he could not immediately say whether they will seek an appeal to Jones' decision" (Associated Press, 11/15/13).
On the editorial page of today's paper, the Courier Times takes a disingenuous, ostensibly objective position, advocating that we abandon efforts to seriously support the Bucks County register of wills: "we support Bucks County Commissioner Diane Marseglia’s suggestion the county should refuse to mount a serious and costly defense against a federal lawsuit targeting Bucks County Register of Wills Don Petrille....the county commissioners should seriously consider Marseglia’s suggestion to unlace the boxing gloves. The commissioners have to approve paying those bills, and so they are within their rights to instruct county attorneys to stand down."
All of Bucks County's Catholic clergy and Catholic faithful should email Register of Wills Don Petrille and the Bucks County Commissioners (and the Courier Times), thanking him for doing his job and upholding the law!
The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference has a web site, to facilitate a message to Governor Corbett, in support of marriage and Pennsylvania's DOMA (https://www.votervoice.net/PACC/Campaigns/32995/Respond):
"Marriage is a personal relationship with great public significance-not a private affair-that affects all in society. Marriage is not just about adult relationships; it is the foundation of the family. Every child has a mother and a father. And every child has a basic right to a mother and a father united in marriage. While circumstances may prevent a child being raised by his or her own mother and father, marriage is the way society provides for children's needs in ordinary circumstances.
"There are many ways to protect the basic human rights of all, but redefining marriage serves no one's rights, least of all those of children. Treating different things differently is not unjust discrimination.
"Pennsylvania's Defense of Marriage Act that statutorily upholds this important building block of society is under attack, but I wanted to let you know that this Pennsylvanian supports marriage."
"A Marriage Protection Amendment to the Pennsylvania State Constitution may be the only way to preserve the definition of marriage as the union between one man and one woman" (Pennsylvania Catholic Conference)
- Support HB 1349: On 5/8/13, Bucks County's own Paul Clymer joined Daryl Metcalfe and 25 others, in introducing HB 1349, which seeks to strengthen Pennsylvania's Constitution, by adding this: "Marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife and no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized."
- Oppose HB1647/SB719: In a 7/12/13 memo, Representative Mark Cohen announced that he was "introducing a bill to repeal the Pennsylvania Defense of Marriage Act and to recognize all same sex marriages made in other states and other countries" [HB 1647]. HB 1647 and its companion SB 719 would negate the fundamental right of children to both a mom and a dad!
HB/SB 300: "Simply put, this legislation is intolerant and prejudiced against people of faith" (Pennsylvania Catholic Conference)
Oppose SB 872, "Prohibiting mental health professionals from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual under 18 years of age" - Pa's Version of NJ's S2278
As reported in Jewish World Review (11/18/13), "A couple who wants to send their 15-year-old son to counseling to curb his attraction to other males is suing New Jersey over the state's ban on so-called gay conversion therapies for minors. In August, Gov. Chris Christie signed into law a bill in that outlaws the therapies....In the court complaint, the family alleges that the law violates their freedom of speech and free exercise of religion, as well as the parents' fundamental rights....His 'unwanted same-sex attraction' was confusing and conflicted with his Roman Catholic religious beliefs, the complaint said. He tried to kill himself multiple times, the court documents say, and eventually asked to go to counseling for help. After he began therapy to change his sexual orientation in 2011 in New York, the strength of his same-sex attractions dropped, according to court documents....'Because no licensed mental health professional in New Jersey can provide him with SOCE counseling, John Doe will substantially regress in the significant progress he has made with his current counselor,' the court complaint states.....Demetrios Stratis, the plaintiffs' attorney..., said that the new case deals with the family's ability to exercise freedom of religion and the fundamental rights of parents"
In contrast to SB 872 and S 2278, Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons maintains that "Youth have the right to be provided informed consent about the serious medical and psychiatric illnesses, and risks, of the homosexual lifestyle. Pediatricians, mental health professionals, physicians, nurses and school counselors have a clear legal responsibility to do so, and parents, family members, educators, and clergy a grave moral responsibility" (Same-Sex Attractions in Youth and Their Right to Informed Consent, 5/21/12).