A Pennsylvania House panel on Tuesday
morning put off debate on a resolution that seeks to ban gay marriage
in the state.
The House State Government Committee
was expected to vote on the resolution during its 9AM session.
Representative Daryl Metcalfe's
proposal would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to ban recognition
of any “substantial equivalent” to heterosexual marriage. The
Republican lawmaker introduced his measure last year.
On Monday, Rep. Babette Josephs, a
Democrat who has introduced legislation to legalize gay marriage in
the state, called on Metcalfe, who chairs the committee, to remove
the bill from the agenda.
“I call on the gentleman from Butler
County to withdraw this discriminatory, backward legislation,”
Josephs said in a press release. “Instead of finding ways to
create jobs and promote a healthier, more prosperous Commonwealth,
Harrisburg Republicans have started a war on women's health and now
they're attacking committed LGBT couples and families all over the
According to Capitol
Ideas, a blog of The Morning Call, Metcalfe cited a large
number of amendments attached to the bill as the reason for his
decision to set it aside.
Gay rights advocate Equality
Pennsylvania, which packed the committee hearing with supporters and
petition calling on lawmakers to drop the amendment and focus on
economic issues instead, claimed victory on its Facebook page.
“Today, Equality PA [and its
partners] succeeded in having House Bill 1434, the mean-spirited and
nonsensical constitutional amendment on same-sex marriage, pulled
from the agenda for consideration by the House State Governorship
Committee,” the group wrote in a
The question could appear on the 2013
ballot, if approved by two consecutive sessions of the Legislature.
Currently, Pennsylvania law forbids gay couples from marrying.
Opponents argue that the institution remains vulnerable to a legal
challenge without a constitutional amendment.