Anti-gay groups continue to erase the children of LGBT people from the debate on same-sex marriage. This past Friday, the Pro-Life Coalition of PA protested outside the Montgomery County Courthouse. Montgomery County has been issuing same-sex marriage licenses despite the ban in the state on same-sex couples getting married.
To date, some 26 licenses have been issued. This is roughly the same number of people who gathered to protest the licenses holding signs saying “stop the war on children,” and “marriage = man & woman.”
Some reports imply that there may have been more reporters at the protest than actual protesters.
Michael McMonagle, the president of the Pro-Life Coalition, claimed that “It’s not about love. It’s about children. There’s a thing called just discrimination. For example, should blind people be allowed to vote? Of course they should, because not being able to see has nothing to do with having the right to vote. Should blind people get a driver’s license? Of course not, because being able to see is essential to being able to drive.”
He went on to say “Heterosexuality is essential to the meaning of marriage. Civil government has an interest in producing future children. It’s utter arrogance to think that we can redefine the institution that has been the bedrock of all society throughout history.”
McMonagle, however, did not offer up any data or proof to back up his assertions, and seemed to ignore the history of marriage over the last two centuries and the rather large number of LGBT families with children.
McMonagle and his twenty cohorts also wanted District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman to press charges against Register of Wills/Clerk of the Orphan’s Court D. Bruce Hanes, and for Governor Tom Corbett to “zealously defend Pennsylvania’s marriage law.” McMonagle claimed that same-sex marriages are “inherently unequal because (they) cannot produce children.”
In unrelated news, Neil Patrick Harris and his fiancee, David Burtka, recently released photos of themselves and their twins.
The protesters apparently recited the Lord’s Prayer as part of their protest.
Lynn Zeitlin and her fiancee Gabriela Assagioli got their license during the protest and apparently didn’t let it bother them. Zeitlin, a Lower Merion lawyer, stated “Free speech is a hallmark of this country. I’m a lawyer. I would defend their right to be here. I don’t like what they have to say, but I give them every right to say it.” The two met thirteen years ago and were married in a religious but not legally binding ceremony by a rabbi years ago.
Hanes remains defiant and will not reverse his decision to issue same-sex marriage licenses. He believes he has the state constitution on his side given that it says that every citizens, regardless of gender, has equal rights under the law. He stated that “Risa Ferman has said that she is not going to interfere. It is her constitutional duty to assess and prosecute crimes in the county. We’re going to do this because it’s the right thing to do. You don’t go back on the right thing to do.”
So far, there have been no formal complaints regarding the issuance of the licences; however, County Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr, a Republican, did offer up a logical and legal analysis of the situation saying:
“Beyond Mr. Hanes, it gets a little murky. When people apply for a marriage license, they swear under oath that they know of no reason why they would not be allowed to marry. It is designed to keep mothers and sons, first cousins, brothers and sisters, etc., from getting married.
“Theoretically, since same-sex persons applying for licenses are taking the same oath, they might be subject to prosecution. Further, persons performing a marriage ceremony on a license that is invalid on its face (as a same-sex license is) clearly are in violation of whatever statutes allow them to perform such ceremonies. Worse yet, if the officiant accepts money for the service of marrying, that could be construed as theft by deception or another type of fraud, subjecting them to prosecution. Then, of course, a couple holding themselves out to be married when the law says they are not, to receive some benefit like filing a joint tax return, claiming dependency of health insurance, etc., they are committing a fraud.”
Any challenge to the marriages is likely to trigger a challenge to the constitutionality of the law banning same-sex marriage.