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ICYMI: PennLive: ‘I’d have to give it consideration,’ Scott Wagner says if bill ending same-sex marriage came to his desk

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Scott Wagner has said he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of signing legislation that would end recognition of same-sex unions in Pennsylvania, saying he’d have to consider such a bill if it came to his desk.

* Republican gubernatorial hopeful Scott Wagner has said he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of signing legislation that would end recognition of same-sex unions in Pennsylvania, saying he’d have to consider such a bill if it came to his desk.


Good Tuesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Scott Wagner has said he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of signing legislation that would end recognition of same-sex unions in Pennsylvania, saying he’d have to consider such a bill if it came to his desk.

That pronouncement by Wagner, of York County, was caught on tape by a Democratic tracker during a town hall meeting in Erie on Monday night with running-mate Jeffrey Bartos.

“The process is a bill would come to the House or Senate to my desk and I would have to give that consideration. I don’t have the answer tonight. But I can follow up with you,” Wagner, a former state senator, told his interrogator, who identified himself as a Catholic.

The release of Wagner’s remarks, which were swiftly condemned by Democrats as an “absolute disgrace” came hours after a shadowy conservative action group released a poll that it says shows a razor-thin margin between Wagner and incumbent Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, also of York County.

Other public polls have shown Wolf with a double-digit lead over Wagner, a trash company executive.

Here’s the text of the full exchange:

Audience Member: “I am Catholic and so I have a really important question. That would be that after you are elected, will you consider putting pressure and using your influence on the house to craft a bill that would eliminate the recognition and benefits of same sex marriage?”

Wagner: “As governor, I won’t be driving that agenda. That’ll be a House or Senate bill that will drive that agenda. And I’ll have to see when it gets to my desk for that answer. I have policy people in place and you’re asking a question- I’m going to be honest with you tonight. The process is a bill would come to the House or Senate to my desk and I would have to give that consideration. I don’t have the answer tonight. But I can follow up with you.”

In some ways, Wagner’s response is a bit of Harrisburg boilerplate. When confronted with hypothetical legislation, gubernatorial candidates (and incumbents) often say that they’ll consider a bill when it reaches their desk. Wagner, however, could also have explicitly said that he’d veto such a bill if it reaches his desk – which other candidates have done.

But given the room, the politics, and the questioner, that doesn’t seem like it was ever going to be part of the calculus.

A bit of background:

In a 2015 decision called Obergfell v. Hodges, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourth Amendment granted same-sex couples the right to marriage.

The ruling has never sat well with cultural conservatives, who have been hoping that a more conservative Supreme Court would somehow eat away at the Obergfell decision – which seems to be the pretext for the audience member’s question.

The high court’s decision in the Masterpiece Cake Shop case earlier this year, which dealt with issues of religious liberty, has been viewed as one angle of attack on the Obergfell decision.

It’s unclear what, if anything, given the federal precedent, states could do to restrict marriage rights for same-sex couples.

But Pennsylvania remains one of several states that does not offer explicit protections in law against workplace, employment and public accommodation discrimination against its LGBTQ citizens. Wagner has previously supported such protections.

Nonetheless, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission has said it will begin accepting complaints based on such discriminatory actions.

The reaction:

As you might expect, Democrats were quick to condemn Wagner’s remarks, calling them “an absolute disgrace.”

“Scott Wagner saying he would consider signing a bill that would make same sex marriage illegal in Pennsylvania is an absolute disgrace,” Beth Melena, a spokeswoman for Wolf’s re-election campaign, said in an email.

“Pennsylvanians need a governor who will stand up for everyone in the commonwealth, including those in our LGBTQ community, and Scott Wagner is clearly not up for the job. Scott Wagner is a dangerous candidate who would take Pennsylvania backwards,” Melena said.

We’ve reached out to Wagner’s campaign for additional comment. We’ll add it when it arrives.

Read the piece here.

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BREAKING VIDEO: Scott Wagner Says He Would Consider Signing A Bill to Make Same Sex Marriage Illegal

Today during a town hall in Erie, Scott Wagner said he would consider signing a bill to make same sex marriage in Pennsylvania illegal.

Pennsylvania – Today during a town hall in Erie, Scott Wagner said he would consider signing a bill to make same sex marriage in Pennsylvania illegal.

“Scott Wagner saying he would consider signing a bill that would make same sex marriage illegal in Pennsylvania is an absolute disgrace,” said Wolf for Pennsylvania communications director Beth Melena. “Pennsylvanians need a governor who will stand up for everyone in the commonwealth, including those in our LGBTQ community, and Scott Wagner is clearly not up for the job. Scott Wagner is a dangerous candidate who would take Pennsylvania backwards.”

WATCH THE VIDEO: https://youtu.be/7Uh7qXLs-rg

TRANSCRIPT:

Audience Member: I am Catholic and so I have a really important question. That would be that after you are elected, will you consider putting pressure and using your influence on the house to craft a bill that would eliminate the recognition and benefits of same sex marriage?

Wagner: As governor, I won’t be driving that agenda. That’ll be a House or Senate bill that will drive that agenda. And I’ll have to see when it gets to my desk for that answer. I have policy people in place and you’re asking a question– I’m going to be honest with you tonight. The process is a bill would come to the House or Senate to my desk and I would have to give that consideration. I don’t have the answer tonight. But I can follow up with you.

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ICYMI: York Dispatch: Editorial: Abortion laws factor into governor’s race

With Wagner in the governor’s chair and Republican majorities in both houses of the state legislature, that would spell broad new restrictions to abortion rights in Pennsylvania — if not their demise altogether.

* The only thing that prevented this ill-conceived effort to control women’s bodies from becoming law was Wolf’s veto. Those who believe women and their physicians are in the best position to make such personal choices, as opposed to elected officials and their like-minded anti-choice agitators, must keep that in mind come November.

* Wagner, recall, not only voted for the 20-week measure before resigning from the state Senate but supports bills that would ban abortions upon detection of a fetal heartbeat —usually around six weeks — and in the case of Down syndrome.

* With Wagner in the governor’s chair and Republican majorities in both houses of the state legislature, that would spell broad new restrictions to abortion rights in Pennsylvania — if not their demise altogether.


ICYMI: York Dispatch: Editorial: Abortion laws factor into governor’s race

More than a quarter century after Pennsylvania found itself at the center of the seemingly never-ending national debate on abortion rights, the issue is once again front and center in the Keystone State.

As Associated Press reporter Marc Levy’s July 28 story made clear, the upcoming gubernatorial race between incumbent Democrat Tom Wolf and Republican challenger Scott Wagner may well be affected by state-level abortion politics. And the result of that race may in no small part dictate the scope of a woman’s right to choose in Pennsylvania going forward.

Those who wish to see abortion remain safe, available and legal in Pennsylvania must therefore be ready to flex their voting muscle in November.

It’s not like abortion rights haven’t already been under assault in Pennsylvania. Just last year, state Rep. Dawn Keefer, R-Franklin Township, led an effort to make abortions illegal after 20 weeks, down from the current, more reasonable 24 weeks. It also would have effectively banned the common dilation and extraction method of performing the procedure.

As with past such efforts, the bill was whisked through the statehouse with nary a public hearing. No chance for constituents to weigh in. No opportunity to hear from medical professionals, whose views on the matter are shaped more by education than ideology.

The only thing that prevented this ill-conceived effort to control women’s bodies from becoming law was Wolf’s veto. Those who believe women and their physicians are in the best position to make such personal choices, as opposed to elected officials and their like-minded anti-choice agitators, must keep that in mind come November.

Wagner, recall, not only voted for the 20-week measure before resigning from the state Senate but supports bills that would ban abortions upon detection of a fetal heartbeat —usually around six weeks — and in the case of Down syndrome.

So the positions of Wolf and Wagner couldn’t be more opposed. But the stakes get higher.

As Levy reminds readers, by the time voters go to the polls on Nov. 6, conservative Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh may well be on the bench. That strengthens the likelihood that Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that has protected abortion rights in the U.S. for 45 years, could be overturned.

If that happens, it’s every state for itself. With Wagner in the governor’s chair and Republican majorities in both houses of the state legislature, that would spell broad new restrictions to abortion rights in Pennsylvania — if not their demise altogether.

Ironic that such a scenario could play out in the state that generated the court case that reaffirmed abortion rights a generation ago.

The Supreme Court’s widely anticipated 1992  decision in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey upheld Roe’s central tenet that there are limits to a government’s power to force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term. It did so by affirming not just privacy rights, but 14th Amendment protections that cover personal autonomy.

The Casey in that case was, of course, former Pennsylvania Gov. Bob Casey Sr., an abortion-opposing Democrat who had signed harsh new abortion prohibitions into law. (His son, current Sen. Bob Casey Jr., inherited both his father’s party, and his views on abortion.)

Whether the protections reaffirmed in the 1992 Casey decision can survive the probable addition of Kavanaugh to the bench is unlikely. But whether such protections would survive in any recognizable form in Pennsylvania under a Gov. Wagner is certain: They would not.

Read the piece here.

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Governor Wolf Thanks the Pennsylvania Fraternal Order of Police for Their Endorsement

Yesterday, the Fraternal Order of Police Pennsylvania State Lodge unanimously endorsed Governor Tom Wolf for reelection.

Philadelphia, PA – Yesterday, the Fraternal Order of Police Pennsylvania State Lodge unanimously endorsed Governor Tom Wolf for reelection.

“I would like to thank the Fraternal Order of Police Pennsylvania State Lodge for endorsing me for reelection,” said Governor Wolf. “But more importantly, I’d like to thank our police officers for their service to the people of Pennsylvania. Each and everyone of them put their lives on the line daily to protects us all. I remain committed to ensuring that our police officers to have the resources they need in order to continue their selfless work.”

“Gov. Wolf has been an active supporter of our law enforcement community, the officers and their families,” said Les Neri, The Fraternal Order of Police Pennsylvania State Lodge President. “We are proud to endorse the governor for a second term.”

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