The bill would mark the first time marriage equality is being considered by the state legislature.
In addition to full marriage rights, the legislation would also recognize same-sex marriages conducted in other states.
Leach said he planned to introduce the legislation next Tuesday and hoped it would be referred to the Judiciary committee, of which he is minority chair.
Leach said he had been considering introducing similar legislation for some time and, in light of the recent California Supreme Court ruling revoking marriage equality, several nearby states enacting or considering marriage-equality laws and the intention of Sen. John Eichelberger (R-30th Dist.) to introduce a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, this was the “most propitious time to do it.”
“It’s on people’s minds, and Pennsylvania should be part of that conversation,” he said. “I know it’s not going to pass with the ease with which we congratulate sports teams. But the legality of same-sex marriage is inevitable.”
Jake Kaskey, policy and outreach coordinator of Equality Advocates Pennsylvania, commended the senator’s announcement.
“Sen. Leach has been such a great ally and this is a historic first,” he said. “And we are still focused on passing H.B. 300 to protect thousands of LGBT people across the state from discrimination.”
HB 300, presently in the House Appropriations Committee, would add protections for sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations.
— Sarah Blazucki