The Green Party of Pennsylvania (GPPA, www.gpofpa.org) supports Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes for issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. In doing so, Hanes is defying Pennsylvania’s backward and discriminating Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) of 1996, a law which the Green Party has always maintained is inconsistent with their social justice policies. Emily Cook, chair of the Green Party of Montgomery County said, “Any official actively challenging DOMA is commended by the Green Party, no matter their political affiliation.”
The Green Party of Montgomery County praised Hanes’ courage in a letter sent to his office on August 13. “Our own state government chose to legislate their ideology and pander to their political base, rather than uphold the rights of their citizenry. So we wholeheartedly agree with you (Hanes) that Pennsylvania’s version of DOMA violates our State’s Constitution and sanctions discrimination.”
“When my wife and I registered to vote Green Party, it was important to us that the GPPA Platform called for an end to discrimination against our lesbian, gay and transgender neighbors,” said Chris Robinson, a member of the Green Party of Philadelphia’s City Committee. “The first Green Party campaign I volunteered for was the Michael Morrill campaign in 2002 for Governor of PA. Morrill’s platform called for equal rights for same-sex couples.”
Pennsylvania Governor Thomas Corbett’s administration is suing Hanes for violating DOMA, which describes matrimony as “a civil contract by which one man and one woman take each other for husband and wife.” Attorneys from the PA Health Department claimed the statutory power to enforce DOMA statewide. However, State Attorney General, Kathleen Kane announced she could not defend the Marriage Law leaving lawmakers who had originally endorsed DOMA now scrambling to find the most self-serving political position due to its emerging unpopularity.
“The more the state of Pennsylvania sends their lawyers down here to Montgomery County to bar same-sex marriages, the more ridiculous the law seems,” said Emily Cook, chair of the Green Party of Montgomery County.
Presently, Pennsylvania is the only state in the northeast still upholding DOMA. As of August 18, Montgomery County has issued a total of 137 licenses to gay and lesbian couples. The county is expected to reply swiftly to the Health Department’s lawsuit.
The Green Party of Pennsylvania stands for grassroots democracy, social justice, nonviolence, and ecological wisdom. For more information on the GPPA, please contact 888-721-4733 and [email protected].