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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Governor Wolf Announces Plans to Strengthen Pennsylvania Agriculture

Earlier this week, at the annual Ag Progress Days event held by Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, Governor Tom Wolf made a major announcement regarding the future of agriculture in Pennsylvania.

Earlier this week, at the annual Ag Progress Days event held by Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, Governor Tom Wolf made a major announcement regarding the future of agriculture in Pennsylvania.

As WJAC reports:

“Gov. Tom Wolf unveiled a six-point plan at AG Progress Days in Centre County County Wednesday to tackle issues facing the state’s agricultural challenges.”

His plan calls for an increased focus on:

  • Rebuilding and expanding the state’s infrastructure, including roads, bridges, ports and broadband;
  • Strengthening Pennsylvania’s workforce to ensure the next generation is prepared to lead;
  • Removing unnecessary regulatory burdens and strengthening the state’s business climate;
  • Establishing business ownership succession plans on the farm and throughout the food system
  • Creating more processing capabilities to accommodate a growing animal agriculture and protein sector

Building on these five points, Governor Wolf also added a sixth point– his plan to make Pennsylvania the nation’s leading organic state. U.S. organic food sales increased by $47 billion in 2017, and Governor Wolf believes that the commonwealth must take advantage of this burgeoning market. To achieve this, he will focus on raising awareness amongst producers, improving infrastructure and training, and facilitating the marketing aspects of organic produce.

These steps are all part of Governor Wolf’s commitment to strengthening Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry and cultivating the next generation of Pennsylvania farming. “My vision for the future of agriculture takes advantage of what’s special about Pennsylvania’s farms and food processors to set us apart on a global stage,” he said. “We see tremendous opportunities for Pennsylvania, including the opportunity to diversify our business and capitalize on marketing opportunities. And even though there is no shortage of challenges, I believe we are uniquely positioned to capitalize on our many existing strengths and chart a path toward a dynamic and prosperous farming economy in Pennsylvania.”

Governor Wolf Invests $16.5 Million into Erie Economy

Yesterday, while on a redevelopment walking tour of Erie, Governor Tom Wolf announced $16.5 million in funding for five projects in the county.

Yesterday, while on a redevelopment walking tour of Erie, Governor Tom Wolf announced $16.5 million in funding for five projects in the county. The governor lauded Erie’s economic redevelopment as an example of the positive outcomes of strategic partnerships between cities and the state.

“Since I became governor, I have worked hard to ensure that when state government is investing in our local communities, we are directing our resources towards projects that transform our cities, municipalities, and counties into more livable places to work and live,” he said.

The Erie Times News highlighted the investment into UPMC park, which is the largest of the projects:

“The home of the Erie SeaWolves will receive a long-overdue facelift thanks in large part to a $12 million state grant that’s been four years in the making.”

The additional projects are as follows:

  • $1 million to renovate the Avalon Hotel to turn it into an upscale Hilton Doubletree hotel.
  • $500,000 to renovate Elmwood Gardens, which provides seniors with independent living, personal care, skilled nursing, and short-term rehabilitation.
  • $1 million to construct a new Medical Arts facility for specialty doctors rotating in from LECOM’s hospital in Erie.
  • Construction of a 44,000-square-foot, 24-unit senior living center connected to the Medical Arts facility.

These projects will expand access to quality health care for Pennsylvanians by preventing them from having to drive long distances for care, improving the recruitment and retention of doctors and nurses in the area, and bolstering the local economy.

Throughout his time in office, Governor Wolf has made significant investments in the Erie region. These include:

  • The renovation of JMC Ice Arena.
  • The expansion of Disabled Veteran Solutions, a veteran-owned business that is focused on hiring veterans and military families and will create more than 200 new jobs.
  • A plan to connect downtown Erie to the waterfront to bring visitors from the Bayfront to the downtown area.
  • Various transportation, business development, and community revitalization projects all over the Erie region.

These moves have created hundreds of good, family sustaining jobs while spurring future job creation and development for the area. Governor Wolf remains committed to investing in local communities to support redevelopment and new opportunities.

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