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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 6 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 23
Pennsylvania marriage equality - Gov. Corbett, the inside story, and the thank-yous
Section One
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Pennsylvania marriage equality - Gov. Corbett, the inside story, and the thank-yous

by Mark Segal - Philadelphia Gay News

I'd like to believe that we are a community that gives appreciation where it is just. And we need to recognize and give thanks to those involved in last week's major change in Pennsylvania's marriage-equality fight.

First and foremost, to Judge John Jones, who wrote one of the strongest opinions on marriage equality I've ever read. If you have not read it, you should (http://coop.pamd.uscourts.gov/13-1861.pdf).

Next, Governor Tom Corbett, who decided to allow it to stand, thus saving us from what might have been years of litigation.

This is a thank-you for doing the right thing - and doing so even after the Archbishop of Philadelphia and the chairman of the state Republican Party advised him to appeal that very day. It was a gutsy move.

But the thank-yous do not end there. The American Civil Liberties Union was brilliant as usual, and Mark Aronchick, you and your partners are community treasures.

But that ultimate decision on whether this would be a contentious fight through the courts or finally settled came down to the governor, and here, there are some other players who need to be thanked. As I mentioned in this column a few months ago, several of us met with Corbett at the governor's residence in Harrisburg to discuss LGBT issues. One of the points the governor made at that meeting was about his LGBT staffers. What he didn't mention, but what I know as someone who has dealt closely with the governor's office over the last four years to create the John C. Anderson LGBT-friendly senior affordable apartments, was that not only does he have LGBT staffers, but many of the other staffers might be considered allies. And if I were a betting man, I'd bet that Corbett's family was in our corner as well. So when the governor finally received the opinion from his legal staff, his decision was one that he had been considering for months. He did this by discussions with family, friends and staff.

We can agree to disagree with the governor on many issues, but here he made the right and honorable decision. He did so by getting to know us. And that in a big way is about his LGBT staffers coming out and speaking openly with him over the last few months. Part of this victory is the power of being out.

It has always been a belief of mine that our community has to just show ourselves to the general public. When we do that, they see we are no threat, that we want the same things that they desire out of life: good health, decent income and someone to share our lives with.

Oh, and here's a fun fact: We should also give a nod to virulently anti-Gay former Senator Rick Santorum - for endorsing Jones for the bench.

Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation's most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. He can be reached at mark@epgn.com.

Courtesy of the Philadelphia Gay News - http://epgn.com

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Double homicide
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Feds say Medicare must cover sex reassignment surgery - State Insurance Commissioner prepares to follow suit
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Mayor signs minimum wage bill, but it's not a done deal yet
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Pennsylvania marriage equality - Gov. Corbett, the inside story, and the thank-yous
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