Sen. Vincent J. Fumo

District Office

1208 Tasker Street
Phila, PA 19148

Harrisburg Office

545 Main Capitol
Hbg, PA 17120



_____________________NEWS RELEASE

State Senator

1st Senatorial District
Room 545 Main Capitol, Harrisburg PA 17120
Internet Website:


PHONE: 717-787-5662 


     HARRISBURG, May 6, 2008
– With proponents of a proposed constitutional amendment on marriage claiming that they are not attempting to discriminate against gays but merely to protect the sanctity of the marital institution, state Sen. Vince Fumo (D-Philadelphia) intends to offer an amendment that would outlaw the dissolution of most marriages in Pennsylvania.

     Fumo will propose his measure when the Senate considers SB 1250, which would amend the state constitution to say that only the union of one man and one woman would be recognized as a marriage or the functional equivalent of marriage. That debate could occur today.

     “Listening to the supporters and advocates for SB 1250, they tell me that their goal is not to hurt any group of people, but to protect the valuable yet beleaguered institution of marriage. In my view, there is no greater threat to families and to marriage than the high divorce rate in our society. So if we truly want our Constitution to guard the institution of marriage, we should focus on keeping those marital unions together,” Fumo said.

     His change to SB 1250 would prohibit divorce except when specific causes are present.

     Fumo will propose inserting the following language into the bill:

     “No law permitting the dissolution of marital status shall be valid except in the case of willful and malicious desertion, cruel and barbarous treatment of a spouse, endangerment of the life or health of a spouse, a bigamous marriage or imposition of such indignities as to render a spouse’s condition intolerable and life burdensome.”

     Fumo has opposed SB 1250 on the grounds that it embeds discrimination into the state Constitution by taking away the rights of some citizens based on their sexual orientation. Constitutions, he has argued, are documents to protect the rights of all people, especially minorities, from the potential tyranny of the majority.

     He considers the language in SB 150 that excludes same-sex couples from not only marriage but also “the functional equivalent of marriage” as a threat to other legal rights. He voted against the legislation on Monday when it was reported from the Senate Appropriations Committee on an 18-8 vote.

     Senate passage SB 1250 would be only the first step on a long path toward including it in the Constitution. It would also have to pass the House of Representatives in this session, then pass the Senate and House again during the two-year legislative session that will begin in January of 2009, then be approved by a majority of the voters of the state in a referendum.

     Fumo is twice divorced.

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