I Saw Maggie Gallagher in Person! Nothing to report.

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[UPDATE: You can now watch the whole debate! PCN has it online here! You can also read Senator Leach’s amusing reaction to the debate on his blog.]

So, last night I went and saw an awesome Pennsylvania State Senator by the name of Daylin Leach debate marriage equality with Maggie Gallagher from the National Organization for Marriage.

Maggie did her normal “I know of no such studies” routine and then got pissed when Leach started mentioning some studies. (That was, of course, after she was 15 minutes late, and also then insisted we end by 9. She’s apparently more busy than a state senator.)

Senator Leach persistently encouraged Maggie to support the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, pointing out that DOMA has nothing to do with marriage (which is controlled by state law) and only deals with access to benefits:

If you support equal access to benefits, you have to oppose DOMA.

Of course, Maggie was not willing to take him up on the offer.

During the Q&A, I challenged Maggie on what she would say to the thousands of impoverished LGBT elders who can’t make end’s meet or obtain proper medical care because of their ineligibility to receive their partners’ social security. She had the gall to condescend such seniors for expecting to be able to depend on social security for their survival. Senator Leach chimed in to say:

I think senior citizens depend more on social security than Catholic Charities depends on tax exemptions.

That made me smile.

Maggie, of course, knew of no studies about the challenges LGBT older Americans face. Here’s one! (PDF)

Senator Leach was among the Senators who helped last week to table Senate Bill 707, which would have amended the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage. To be passed, that bill would have then had to be voted on by the people of Pennsylvania. He reminded us why he could never have let that happen:

There is no constitutional right to vote on other people’s rights.

Maggie, the sniveling little twit that she is, retorted that same-sex relationships are not “marriage” and thus not a civil right.

I guess it’s all a matter of perspective.

I have to applaud the Harrisburg Area Community College Allies for organizing the event. I think it’s wonderful to see these kinds of events at a community college. They do much to increase the level of dialogue in our communities.

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