State Reps. Brian Sims (D–Phila.) and Steve McCarter (D–Montgomery) announced Thursday plans to introduce a bill in the House of Representatives recognizing same-sex marriages in Pennsylvania, which now explicitly prohibits such unions.
"With the recent Supreme Court ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act, it is time for the Pennsylvania General Assembly to finally take swift action in ensuring that all our citizens have fair and equal rights in choosing whom they may marry," McCarter said in a statement.
"All marriage is equal and government has no role in weighing the value or legitimacy of a couple’s love based on their sexual orientation. This bill should already be law, but sadly because it is not, I urge the Majority Leadership in the House and Senate as well as the Governor to embrace this measure and move it as quickly as possible."
In an interview with Metro on Wednesday in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act, Sims said he was surprised it had taken the federal government so long to extend the benefits to which opposite-sex married couples are entitled to same-sex married couples, in states where such unions are legal.
"I came out in 2000, 13 years ago – to a group of college football players from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware," Sims said.
"They handled my coming out with such class and such grace and such support that I've spent the better part of the last dozen years confused, at times, at how slow support has been coming around, given my experience."
The bill will include protections for religious organizations that do not wish to sanction or recognize same-sex marriages.