1101 Market Street, 11th Floor Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: 215-238-6300 Fax: 215-238-1267 www.philadelphiabar.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Daniel A. Cirucci
Phone: (215) 238-6340
The Association expressed its position in the form of a Resolution unanimously adopted by its Board of Governors at the Board's most recent meeting. The Association will communicate its views to every member of Congress, which is expected to consider the matter next month.
According to Association Chancellor Gabriel L. I. Bevilacqua, the state's largest local bar association felt a need to express "its strong commitment to the right of the states to make and interpret their own laws in areas which have traditionally been the domain of the states." The Chancellor also noted that "throughout our history, our federal Constitution has been successfully amended to expand individual rights, not to limit those rights." The one time the Constitution was amended to limit rights (in the case of prohibition) the amendment "failed miserably" and was repealed, Bevilacqua observed.
"We must remember that amending the Constitution is a serious matter and, as general rule, should only be approached for the most valid and extraordinary reasons," he added.
Without taking a position on same-sex marriage, the Chancellor noted "we believe in the equal protection of the law for everyone. We recognize that people have fundamental, basic rights. Supporting those rights and making room at the table for all members of our national family is not only right but is also sensible and pragmatic. We must not trifle with people's rights and we must honor our federal system and allow states to act in areas where they have jurisdiction," the Chancellor stated. "As an Association, this has been our commitment for more than 200 years. It will remain our commitment," he concluded.