Earlier this summer, I interviewed State Senator Daylin Leach, and one topic brought up during the interview was why would a progressive want to run for the U.S. House when it’s been gerrymandered into Republican oblivion. His response was enlightening and surprising. If elected, he would use the house seat (PA – 13th) the same way he has used senate seat; a place to campaign for state – or national – progressive issues. And last Monday was another example how the Montgomery County senator would campaign on these progressive issues.
Over the past four years, Senator Leach has been a trailblazer on marriage equality in the Pennsylvania General Assembly; even when Democratic leadership didn’t support the cause. During that time, marriage equality and LGBTQ rights have become a pillar for the Democratic Party platform and the equality issue spawned its own caucus, the Pennsylvania LGBT Equality Caucus. Marriage equality legislation and protections for the LGBTQ community have been stalled by House opposition during this time, and a couple of elected officials decided to force the issue to center state.
Attorney General Kathleen Kane and Montgomery County Register of Will D. Bruce Hanes took matters into their own hands. The Attorney General drew a lot of controversy when she decided not to defend Pennsylvania’s DOMA laws in front of the State Supreme Court. Then a couple of weeks later, the Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes released a press release stating that his office will not oblige to those laws and began issuing same-sex marriage licenses to gay couples. Mr. Hanes’ actions have drawn criticism from a couple of democratic lawmakers because he went around the process, and one lawmaker was State Senator Rob Teplitz from Dauphin County. Senator Teplitz said:
“I do have concern that we need to respect the way it’s done,” and continued “I don’t want to show respect to the current law because I think the current law is wrong but I think you have to be careful about performing an inappropriate task in government as a way to address some other inappropriate issue.”
Mr. Hanes’ disobedient actions have drawn support from State Senator Daylin Leach, who has used the opportunity to campaign for marriage equality in the Commonwealth, and this past Monday, Senator Leach put his words into actions we he presided over and wedded a same-sex couple. Only a few media outlets in the Philadelphia region covered Senator Leach’s actions, and here’s a roundup from those media outlets.
We spoke with State Senator Daylin Leach at one of his campaign offices about the issue.
He’s a registered officiant, chair of the Lesbian Gay Bi-sexual Transgender Caucus, and sponsor of a marriage equality bill.
He married a Montco couple Monday.
He thinks the lawsuit will actually push Pennsylvania towards legalizing gay marriage.
“It will hopefully bring closer the day that this law is put into the ash heap of history, along with a lot of other laws that prohibited interracial marriage and were otherwise discriminatory. It’s time that everyone has the opportunity to marry the person they care about,” Senator Daylin Leach. “I actually look forward to a court finally ruling that Pennsylvania’s antiquated and discriminatory marriage law is unconstitutional.”
Meanwhile, state Sen. Daylin Leach seems to have staked out a slightly more personal stance on the issue.
According to Leach’s office, the Montgomery County Democrat presided over a same-sex marriage ceremony on Monday at Talamore Golf Club in Ambler. Leach, chair of the LGBT caucus, is a registered officiant with Universal Life Church.