Don’t book your gay wedding in Pennsylvania. Political analysts, polls and even activists themselves are saying same-sex marriage will come to the Keystone State, just not anytime soon..
There’s already a “marriage is between one man and one woman” law on the books—one that Gov. Tom Corbett and the Republican-controlled General Assembly endorse. Getting them to repeal it is a longshot—a gay-marriage bill was introduced in 2009 and went exactly nowhere. (But Rep. Brian Sims will be sworn in next year as the state’s first openly gay legislator, so there’s that.)
What about a public referendum? Last December, a Muhlenberg College poll 50% of Pennsylvanians supported same-sex marriage, compared to 37% who opposed it. Sounds great, right? But a similar poll this September showed opponents leading 44% to 45%.
The difference? The September poll was done of likely voters. Fact: Old people are more likely to vote and less likely to support gay rights.
The general public’s view on gay people is evolving, but that doesn’t always translate on the regional level. (Maryland, after all, only passed Question 6 by four points.) Pennsylvania is one of the most diverse states the union, encompassing cosmopolitan cities, red-state rural areas—and the Amish.
Currently, neither domestic partnerships nor civil unions are recognized in the Keystone State. “This shift is starting to happen,” Equality PA’s Ted Martin told The Harrisburg Patriot-News. “However Pennsylvania has a long way to go.”
That leaves the courts, which can be the longest, and most expensive, road to equality. We’re still waiting for DOMA to get tossed—and that thing was signed in 1996.