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Pennsylvania
state senate votes in favor of proposed ban on same-sex
marriage

Pennsylvania
state senate votes in favor of proposed ban on same-sex
marriage

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The Pennsylvania state senate voted in favor of a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage Wednesday, although in a blow to conservatives, it defeated an additional proposal to ban civil unions.

The Pennsylvania state senate voted in favor of a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage Wednesday, although in a blow to conservatives, it defeated an additional proposal to ban civil unions. Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania house approved both the marriage and civil-unions bans, but in order to send any bill to voters in 2007 as supporters hope to do, the two chambers will have to unify their measures by August 7--and a two-month legislative recess begins next week, the Associated Press reports. The delay effectively means the earliest a marriage or civil-unions ban could be put before voters in a statewide referendum is 2008, since Pennsylvania law requires any constitutional amendment to be approved by the house and senate in Harrisburg in two consecutive legislative sessions. A 1996 state law already defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, but conservatives think an amendment to the constitution is necessary to prevent courts from deciding otherwise. But progressives, predictably, disagree. "If we're concerned about the sanctity of marriage, I don't know how it hurts your marriage...if some gay couple in Philadelphia is living together," Senator Vincent J. Fumo, D-Philadelphia, said according to the AP. "Mind your own business, stay out of the bedroom." Added Senator Jim Ferlo, D-Allegheny: "This measure is disheartening, it is divisive, and it is diversionary to say the least. The Pennsylvania Constitution should not be tarnished with this measure." (The Advocate)

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