"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" (Associated Press, 11/15/13).On the 11/19/13 editorial page, the Courier Times took 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."
Though he had courageously stood alone in defense of marriage, it is now reported that Bucks County Register of Wills Don Petrille "will 'take no position' on the issue of same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania and could assume a limited role in an ongoing lawsuit that’s playing out in federal court" (Courier Times, 2/25/14).
The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference has a special web page to contact your state senator and object to HB 162, which would open adoption records: "Because it will violate confidentiality agreements made with birth parents long ago, this legislation is unfair and could dissuade birth parents today from choosing adoption for their babies and opting instead for life-ending choices." You can also email all four of Bucks County's state senators (i.e., Sen. Greenleaf, Sen. McIlhinney, Sen. Mensch, and Sen. Tomlinson), asking that they oppose HB 162. While the goal of HB 162 is ostensibly to get info to young adults about biological parents, it would leave the anonymity of so-called egg donors and so-called sperm donors intact. The commitments of anonymity to birth parents who gave children up for adoption would be disregarded!
HB 587As reported by the Pa Catholic Conference: "Among the many atrocities revealed at Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s 'House of Horrors' abortion clinic in West Philadelphia was that several of his staff provided medical services without the proper training or license to do so....[the] House of Representatives passed House Bill 587 to increase the penalty for those who commit the crime of impersonating a doctor of medicine." HB 587 is now with the Senate judiciary committee, of which Bucks/Montgomery Counties' Senator Stewart Greenleaf is chair. Please urge Greenleaf (firstname.lastname@example.org) to move forward with this legislation, so that it can ultimately receive a favorable vote by the full senate and a signature by the governor.
As per the Pa Pro Life Coalition, HB 1762 “requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the facility where they are committing abortions….If your State House member is pro-life, please write to him or her with a request to co-sponsor H.B. 1762….Please write Rep. Ron Marsico, the Chairman of the Pa. House Judiciary Committee, and ask him to run H.B. 1762, as soon as reasonably possible….Please write Rep. Mike Turzai, the Pa. House Majority Leader, and ask him to run H.B. 1762, as soon as reasonably possible….Pa. Senator Stewart Greenleaf, the Chairman of the Pa. Senate Judiciary Committee, indicated that he is open to running H.B. 1762 in this Committee, which has a pro-life majority." Kudos to Bucks County's Rep Paul Clymer, who joined in introducing this legislation! (Note: In addition to Clymer, Bucks County's Rep John Galloway was among those who introduced the comparable H.B. 1314 in the 2011-2012 term.).
Human TraffickingAs per the U.S. State Department's Trafficking in Persons Report 2013, only "a mere fraction of the more than 26 million men, women, and children who are estimated to suffer in modern slavery have been recognized by governments as such and are eligible to receive the protection and support they are owed." "The solemn proclamation of human rights is contradicted by a painful reality of violations,
• wars and violence of every kind…,
• genocides and mass deportations,…
• ever new forms of slavery such as
trafficking in human beings,
the exploitation of workers,
illegal drug trafficking, prostitution" (The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Chapter 3: The Human Person and Human Rights)
Sen Stewart Greenleaf "introduced SB75, a law to fight human trafficking in Pennsylvania that was unanimously approved Dec. 10 in the Senate” (Linda Finarelli, Human trafficking bill pending in PA House, 1/24/14). As per the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, "Legislation was already passed unanimously by the Pennsylvania Senate in December and hopefully it will be considered by the House of Representatives in the near future.... we must demand legislative action that supports the dignity of the person and prevents victims from even getting involved in human trafficking. Please send a message in support of legislation that ends human trafficking by clicking here" (Note: The Pa Catholic Conference has not specifically said if it supports SB75.).
Ultrasound Legislation"There are about a dozen states that require that ultrasound images be offered to women seeking abortions, before the procedure is performed. Here in Pennsylvania, we do not currently have such a requirement. Here, an ultrasound bill was introduced last session by Rep. Kathy Rapp, R-Warren, and other key members of the House pro-life caucus and quickly gained more than 100 co-sponsors. But the abortion lobby and its allies on the political left – many even from out-of-state – went on the attack and intimidated otherwise well-meaning legislators from moving ahead, for now" (Pennsylvania: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words, Citizen Link, 12/19/13).
Marriage / Family: Support HB 1349 and Oppose HB1647/SB719"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" (Pa Catholic Conference). The Pa Catholic Conference has a web site, to facilitate a message to Governor Corbett, in support of marriage and Pa's DOMA (https://www.votervoice.net/PACC/Campaigns/32995/Respond). Our legislators should support Sen. Clymer's HB1349, and oppose SB719/HB1647.
Oppose SB 872Proposed legislation in Pennsylvania, SB 872, "Prohibiting mental health professionals from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual under 18 years of age," would join California’s Senate Bill 1172 and New Jersey's S2278 in running counter to common sense:
"In 2013 California and New Jersey passed laws that ban licensed mental health providers from offering sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) to minors....To be clear, the present debate concerns banning voluntary (not coerced) SOCE by professionals for minors who are distressed by their unwanted homosexual feelings. Support for this ban is based upon four claims. First, that sexual orientation is a fixed, inborn trait. Secondly, that homosexual attractions experienced during adolescence are enduring. Thirdly, that homosexual behavior carries no increased health risks as compared to heterosexual behavior, and finally, that scientific research proves SOCE is universally harmful. None of these claims, however, is based in science....the American College of Pediatricians and the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality insist that adolescents retain their right to choose SOCE with full informed consent under the care of experts in the field" (Adolescents, Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity, American College of Pediatricians, 2/13/14).
Oppose HB300/SB300"House Bill 300/Senate Bill 300 would add 'gender identity or expression' and 'sexual orientation' to Pennsylvania's non-discrimination law. Changing the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA) to protect people based on sexual attraction and behavior will jeopardize many churches and their charitable outreach. In other states, this law has shuttered Catholic adoption agencies and trampled religious liberty. HB/SB 300 could mean that Catholic agencies would no longer be able to make our contributions to the common good of Pennsylvania without violating our religious beliefs. The law has also caused conflicts for private business owners with legitimate religious and moral concerns....In reality, HB/SB 300 exposes even more Pennsylvanians to discrimination. Simply put, this legislation is intolerant and prejudiced against people of faith. Send a message to the legislature urging them to vote 'no' on HB/SB 300" (Pennsylvania Catholic Conference).From Bucks County, HB300/SB300 is being co-sponsored by Rep. Tina Davis, Rep. John Galloway, Sen. Chuck McIlhinney, Rep. Marguerite Quinn, Rep. Steve Santarsiero, Rep. Scott Petri, and Rep. Katherine Watson (cf. http://legiscan.com/PA/bill/HB300/2013 and http://legiscan.com/PA/bill/sB300/2013). While the Pa Catholic Conference calls HB/SB 300 "intolerant and prejudiced against people of faith," as many as 28 original co-sponsors are "Catholic" (i.e., Reps Brendan Boyle, Thomas Caltagirone, Mike Carroll, Dominic Costa, Paul Costa, Tina Davis (???), Frank Dermody, John Galloway, Patrick Harkins, Joseph Markosek, Michael McGeehan, Thomas Murt, Eddie Day Pashinski, John Sabatina, Mario Scavello, Thomas Killion, Robert Matzie, and Catherine Harper. Sens Patrick Browne, Jay Costa, Chuck McIlhinney, Lisa Boscola, Wayne Fontana, John Blake, Mike Stack, Sean Wiley, John Yudichak, and Richard Kasunic). Though he also identifies himself as "Catholic," Governor Tom Corbett has indicated that he would sign this legislation.
Email Gov. Corbett and all of Bucks County's representatives and senators in Harrisburg (i.e., Rep. Clymer, Rep. Davis, Rep. DiGirolomo, Rep. Farry, Rep. Galloway, Rep. O'Neill, Rep. Petri, Rep. Quinn, Rep. Santarsiero, Rep. Watson, Sen. Greenleaf, Sen. McIlhinney, Sen. Mensch, and Sen. Tomlinson), asking that they OPPOSE HB 300 / SB 300 (as well as SB 872) and SUPPORT Pa's DOMA, as well as HB 587.
Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2013 - Support HR 3279/S1848As per Cardinal O'Malley's 11/1/13 letter to the U.S. House of Representatives, "I am writing to ask your support for Rep.Chris Smith's Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act' (H.R. 3279)." As of 3/2/14, our “pro life” congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is NOT among the 125 co-sponsors of H.R. 3279. Neither of our "pro life" senators - NEITHER Casey NOR Toomey - are among the 24 co-sponsors of S1848.
Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act - Support HR 732 / S 32 / S 369Human Trafficking indeed! As the USCCB previously explained, "a mother in Pennsylvania, where parental involvement is required, testified before Congress that her daughter was taken without her knowledge to New Jersey for a secret abortion by the parents of her daughter's boyfriend.... 'We urge Congress to pass this law to help protect vulnerable girls from this kind of exploitation'" (USCCB, 4/27/05). Kudos to Mike Fitzpatrick for being among the co-sponsors of HR 732. NEITHER Bob Casey NOR Pat Toomey are among the 6 co-sponsors of S.32. However, kudos to Pat Toomey for being among the 28 co-sponsors of S.369.
De-Fund Planned ParenthoodIn a 4/13/11 letter to the U.S. House of Representatives, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, then chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Pro-Life Activities, called for de-funding Planned Parenthood. As per the American Life League's 2013 Study on Planned Parenthood Federation of America, "neither the American taxpayer nor healthcare in general benefits by funding an organization dedicated (by choice) to abortion." As they each identify themselves as “pro life,” we need Fitzpatrick, Casey, and Toomey to work to de-fund Planned Parenthood.
Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 (ENDA) - Oppose HR 1755 / S 815As S 815 passed the Senate (with votes from BOTH Casey and Toomey), it is all the more vital that Fitzpatrick oppose HR 1755. As per the USCCB's 10/31/13 letter to the U.S. Senate, "the USCCB continues to promote the dignity of both work and marriage and to oppose unjust discrimination on any grounds, including those related to homosexual inclination or sexual identity. But we cannot support a bill, like ENDA, that does not justly advance the dignity of all workers and authentic non-discrimination" Mike Fitzpatrick, are you committed to voting AGAINST HR 1755?
Federal Marriage Amendment - Support HJ Res 51On 6/28/13, Rep Tim Huelskamp introduced H.J. RES. 51, Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to marriage. As per a 2/19/14 letter, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, chair of the USCCB's Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage: "I am...very pleased to support the Marriage Protection Amendment and urge your colleagues to join H. J. Res. 51 as cosponsors." To be noted, Mike Fitzpatrick has NOT joined the 58 co-sponsors of H.J. RES. 51 (including Representative Chris Smith). The National Organization for Marriage has a special web site to send messages on HJ Res 51: http://capwiz.com/nationformarriage/issues/alert/?alertid=62920816.
Health Care Conscience Rights Act - Support HR 940 / S 1204As per the USCCB, "All House and Senate members should be urged to support and co-sponsor the Health Care Conscience Rights Act" Kudos to Mike Fitzpatrick for being among the co-sponsors of HR 940. Kudos to Toomey for being among the co-sponsors of S 1204; Casey is NOT among the 20 co-sponsors.
Immigration ReformThe USCCB has a web site to contact Casey, Toomey and Fitzpatrick (http://www.capwiz.com/justiceforimmigrants/issues/alert/?alertid=62312721&type=CO), in support of "just and compassionate immigration reform."
Marriage and Religious Freedom Act - Support HR 3133/S1808"Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, and Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, expressed strong support for the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act (S. 1808)....Both archbishops previously endorsed the companion Marriage and Religious Freedom Act...in the U.S. House of Representatives" [i.e., HR 3133] (USCCB Chairmen Praise Introduction of the ‘Marriage and Religious Freedom Act’ in the Senate, 12/12/13). Fitzpatrick has NOT joined the 100 co-sponsors of HR 3133. NEITHER Casey NOR Toomey are among the 16 co-sponsors of S.1808. The National Organization for Marriage has a special web site (http://capwiz.com/nationformarriage/issues/alert/?alertid=63028046&PROCESS=Take+Action), to contact Casey, Toomey, and Fitzpatrick.
No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act - Support HR 7 / S 946In his 11/1/13 letter to the U.S. House of Representatives - as chair of the USCCB's committee on pro-life activities - Cardinal O'Malley notes "legislation we support such as the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act( H.R. 7 )"(introduced by Rep Chris Smith). Kudos to Mike Fitzpatrick for his favorable vote on HR 7. Kudos to Toomey for being among the 26 co-sponsors of S 946; Casey is NOT a co-sponsor. While Casey is the sponsor of S 142 (without any co-sponsors), it strikes this blogger as inferior to S 946.
Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act - Support HR 1797/ S 1670 / S 886As per a 6/14/13 letter to the U.S. House of Representatives from Cardinal O'Malley, "I urge you to support the common-sense reform offered by H.R. 1797." Kudos to Mike Fitzpatrick for his favorable vote on 6/18/13. Kudos to Pat Toomey for being among the 40 co-sponsors of S. 1670 and the 34 co-sponsors of S. 886. Our “pro life” senator Bob Casey is NOT a co-sponsor of S. 1670 and is NOT a co-sponsor of S. 886.
State Marriage Defense Act - Support HR3829 / S2024
As reported by the Pa Catholic Conference, "Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, applauded the January 9 introduction of the bipartisan State Marriage Defense Act of 2014 (H.R. 3829)....'The State Marriage Defense Act is a necessary piece of legislation that will prevent the federal government from unjustly disregarding, in certain instances, state marriage laws concerning the definition of marriage,'....He went on to say, '....State marriage laws defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman deserve respect by the federal government.'" Heretofore, Mike Fitzpatrick has claimed marriage to be a "state" issue. Yet, he is NOT one of the 60 co-sponsors of HR 3829. As per the National Organization for Marriage, senate version S 2024 "is substantively similar" to HR 3829. Neither Casey nor Toomey are cosponsoring S 2024.
To provide for the establishment of the Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia - Support HR 301 / S 653As per Bishop Pates' 5/20/13 letter to Senators Roy Blunt and Carl Levin, "As Chair of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I commend your tireless efforts to advance religious freedom as evidenced by your sponsorship of S. 653, a bill to establish a Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia." On 9/18/13, Mike Fitzpatrick voted favorably on the House version, HR 301 - Bravo. Kudos to Pat Toomey for being one of the 22 co-sponsors of S.653; Casey is NOT a co-sponsor.
Please copy/paste the following into a message for Senator Casey, Senator Toomey, and Congressman Fitzpatrick (https://www.votervoice.net/NCHLA/Campaigns/30688/Respond):