Leach and Gallagher debate same-sex marriage

A state Senator pushing for legalized same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania took on a staunch opponent of the issue in a Harrisburg debate last night.

Democrat Daylin Leach, who represents parts of Delaware and Montgomery Counties, wants Pennsylvania to join states like Connecticut and New Hampshire in legalizing same-sex marriage. He discussed the issue with Maggie Gallagher, who heads the National Organization for Marriage.

Gallagher argued legalized gay marriage would lead to government crackdowns on institutions like the Catholic Church who oppose same-sex unions, drawing parallels to anti-racist statutes.

Gallagher made it clear she supports government efforts to repress racism – she just thinks opposition to same-sex marriage doesn’t belong in the same category. Leach countered that he’s open to strengthening religious protection language in future versions of same-sex marriage bills, but Gallagher said the clause in his current legislation doesn’t go far enough.

She kept returning to the argument that same-sex marriage will have implications for the community.

Gallagher of the National Organization also said children ideally need to be raised in two-parent households, with both a mom and a dad. Leach argued that logic should lead to support for same-sex marriage.

Leach said he agreed with Gallagher that single-parent families aren’t ideal — and that’s why he’s pushing for gay marriage. He noted that he grew up without a father.

A constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman recently failed to clear a Senate committee.

I moderated the debate — you can catch the replay at some point on PCN.

About pubradiopolitics
Scott covers state government and politics for Pennsylvania's public radio stations, including WITF in Harrisburg, WHYY in Philadelphia and WDUQ in Pittsburgh.

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