Adding to marriage

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Recently 10 U.S. senators filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the case U.S. v. Windsor. These men served in either the U.S. House or the Senate at the time the Defense of Marriage Act was enacted with bipartisan support. The amici explain: "Congress sought to mitigate this national confusion by clarifying the definition of marriage for purposes of federal law, while preserving the authority of states to make determinations with regard to their own laws."

Since 2004, 32 states have enacted voter-approved state constitutional amendments to deny equal rights to gay and lesbian couples. The senators claim that no animus exists against the LGBT community; rather, the states were merely preserving the status quo. They claim that the definition of marriage has not changed since the dawn of this nation. That statement is simply not true.

In 1792, marriage was between one white man and one white woman. If African-American slaves wanted to wed, they had to seek the permission of their plantation owners, and then could have their marriages dissolved at the whims of the tyrant slave owners. In 1865, as a result of the passage of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the U.S. Constitution, those laws were rightly abolished. Until the 1950s, divorce was only possible as a result of criminal action or adultery. Until 1967, blacks and whites could not wed one another in many U.S. states.

Gay couples in Pennsylvania and across the United States seek equal treatment under the law as promised in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, not to rewrite the definition of marriage, but to build upon it.

DAVID E. MOORE
Founder
Marriage Equality for PA
Edinboro, Pa.


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