Letter to PA Senator RE: SB 1250

May 1, 2008

May 1, 2008

Senator Christine Tartablione

Pennsylvania State Senate

PO Box 203002

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120

Dear Senator Tartaglione:

On behalf of the IUP Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Commission, I am writing to express our grave concerns about the implications of Senate Bill 1250. This bill would restrict residents of the Commonwealth from access to equal status and equal benefits, based on sexual orientation. The effect would be to implement a process that could result in Pennsylvania establishing a Constitutional restriction on marriage and even on access to benefits associated with marriage for couples in Pennsylvania who are gay, lesbian or transgender.

Our concerns about this proposal are many. These include the most basic concern that Pennsylvania would officially establish discriminatory practices in its Constitution. At a professional level, we are concerned for our students and colleagues who are gay, lesbian or transgender and whose status would permanently be that of second class citizens – not fully guaranteed equal rights under the law. We are also are concerned for our friends, family members, and/or partners who would experience discrimination due to this action.

But we are also concerned for those Pennsylvania residents who are straight – who are heterosexual, and will or do have children who are gay, lesbian or transgender – children who will never gain equal rights no matter how well loved they are, and no matter how well raised and accepted by their parents and local community.

We are concerned that regardless of sexual orientation, all of us in Pennsylvania would be carrying the burden of fear, anxiety, misunderstanding, and shame associated with overt discrimination against a significant segment of our citizens.

There is no “win” with passage of Senate Bill 1250. The effect will be to set back the progress that has been made since the 1800s on creating a nation when everyone is equal under the law. It would reinforce those who carry hatred and disdain for minorities – who feel that “rights” should be distributed unequally based on the preferences of the majority.

By voting against Senate Bill 1250 you can make an important contribution to civil rights, social equality, justice and fairness. You can make a statement about the importance of never going back to the days in U.S. history where discrimination was legal and acts of discrimination and even violence against those in the minority, was not only tolerated, but encouraged.

As faculty, staff, and students at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, we know there has been a tremendous shift in acceptance campus-wide for equal rights for people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Senate Bill 1250 attempts to rip apart the healing and healthy changes that have occurred by dismantling the evolving safety net of equality that has become such an important part of people’s lives and values. In the name of social justice, we ask that you vote against Senate Bill 1250.

With best regards,

Robert B. Heasley, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Sociology

Chair, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Commission

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

GLBT Commission Members 2007-2008

Robert Heasley, Ph.D., Sociology, Chair

sj Miller, Ph.D., English

Marlen Elliot Harrison, Graduate Student, English

Lynne Alvine, Ph.D., English

Rev. Joan M. Sabatino, Campus Ministry

David Berberich, Housing and Residence Life

Dan Burkett, Ph.D., Math

Beth Mabry, Ph.D., Sociology

Sarah Fritz, Undergraduate Student Representative, Pride Alliance

John Mueller, Ph.D., Education

Rita Drapkin, Ph.D., Counseling and Psychological Services

Phillip W Schnarrs, Graduate Student, Sociology

Tedd Cogar, Center for Student Life

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Posted on May 1, 2008, in Activism and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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