WEST CHESTER (April 13, 2021) – State Senator Carolyn Comitta is introducing legislation to update Pennsylvania law to reflect marriage equality and the right of same-sex couples to marry.
Though the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges on June 26, 2015, made it clear that marriage should be available to all, Pennsylvania retains outdated and unnecessary sections of law that prohibit marriage equality.
“During my tenure as Mayor of West Chester, I presided over numerous weddings of loving same-sex couples,” Comitta said. “Our laws should reflect our values. In Chester County and Pennsylvania, we value compassionate, welcoming, inclusive, and diverse communities that recognize the rights and contributions of every individual, including same-sex couples and LGBTQ+ individuals and families.”
Comitta, who serves on the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, said the change is not only a matter of upholding our constitution, but it’s also a matter of recognizing and reinforcing the rights of same-sex couples at a time when members of the LGBTQ+ community continue to face discrimination, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric.
“Nearly 6 years ago, our nation enshrined the right to marry and all of its privileges and responsibilities for same-sex couples. It is past time that we update our state laws to follow suit and reflect the modern, legal, and widely-accepted definition and view of marriage,” she said.
“The promise of America has to include every single one of us – and because of generations of activists and LGBTQ+ leaders, marriage equality is the law of the land. However, outdated and discriminatory language still exists in commonwealth statute, and that must change. This bill will ensure that our laws reflect who we are and further clarify that in Pennsylvania, who you are and who you love is seen and valued,” Kenyatta said.
Specifically, the bill would repeal Section 1704 (Marriage Between Persons of the Same Sex) of Title 23 (Domestic Relations) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, which currently only recognizes marriage between a man and woman.
Senate Bill 558 is co-sponsored by state Senators John Kane, Wayne Fontana, Katie Muth, Vincent Hughes, Judy Schwank, Tim Kearney, and Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa.
House Bill 824 is co-sponsored by several Chester County lawmakers, including state Representatives Christina Sappey, Danielle Friel-Otten, Kristine Howard, Dianne Herrin, Dan Williams, and Melissa Shusterman.