Confident same-sex marriage coming to Pa., but unsure when

    There’s a new bill in the Pennsylvania House that would legalize same-sex marriage.

    State Rep. Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia), the first openly gay person elected to the Pennsylvania Legislature, has become the bill’s champion. He was joined in LOVE Park by a group of his colleagues to announce its introduction.

    “This bill is going to become law,” Sims said. “You’ve heard it from every speaker up here. You’re hearing it from me now. There is no chance that Pennsylvania will not join the states that recognize marriage equality. The question is how and when.”

    Supporters repeat the word “inevitable,” but it’s not certain this bill will even come up for a vote this session. Previous versions of the bill have failed, so Sims acknowledged the long odds against getting the bill through the Pennsylvania House this session.

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    “I can see a path where this legislator and this govenror and this legislature would support this legislation,” he said. “But we also have to talk about likelihoods and the likelihood is that it will be our new governor that signs this bill into law.”

    Marriage bills have never come to a vote and Randy Wenger, counsel for the Pennsylvania Family Institute says he does not expect this one to either.  He says there’s a lack of support from conservative representatives.

    “We don’t want to see same-sex marriage because we think we lose something very important in what marriage is,” Wenger said.

    Pennsylvania is the sole state in the Northeast that does not recognize some type of same-sex unions. A New Jersey judge ruled last week that state’s civil unions were inadequate and the state must begin recognizing same-sex marriages. The Christie Administration has appealed.

    Meanwhile in Pennsylvania, supporters of same-sex marriage have pursued their own route through the courts. Since this summer’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down key parts of the Defense of Marriage Act, they filed five lawsuits in state and federal courts saying current state law defining marriage as between a man and a woman violates the constitution.

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