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Marriage equality advocates cheer Court decision, push for more changes

Written by Ben Allen and WESA | Jun 26, 2015 2:25 PM
samesexmarriage_love.jpg

Photo by AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Balloons spell out the word "love" over the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday June 26, 2015, after the court declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the US.

(Harrisburg) -- Today's historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage has drawn praise in many quarters of Pennsylvania.

Democrats spoke loudest in favor of the decision, starting with Governor Tom Wolf.

He says "gay marriage" should now simply be known as "marriage".

But he's also calling for legislation in the capitol that would protect all from housing or employment discrimination based on their sexual or gender preference.

21 states plus the District of Columbia already have protections in place, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Michael Morrill, executive director of progressive nonprofit Keystone Progress, says changing long-held beliefs will take some time.

"Just like with civil rights for African Americans though, there are still some people who are going to cling to their old ways and it will take a generation for some folks to come around."

Morrill echoes Wolf's call for non-discrimination legislation, saying someone could get married, then get fired for their sexual orientation, and it would all be legal.

"One of the oddities is that, now you can be legally married but if you put a picture of your spouse, and you are a same sex couple, on you desk, you can be fired for that. So those kids of protections need to be dealt with so we will continue to fight for full civil rights for LGBT people."

In a statement, the Diocese of Harrisburg called the decision deeply disappointing, and says it fears it will have a corrosive effect on the instituion of marriage.

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Pennsylvania since May 2014, when then-Governor Tom Corbett didn't appeal a federal court's decision.

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