Senator John Eichelberger commented "We are allowing them to exist" during a recent interview on WHYY in Philadelphia. Eichelberger is the primary sponsor of legislation to amend the Pennsylvania constitution to "protect" marriage, and refuses to apologize for his "exist" comment. Thanks to NGBlog for the video h/t.
Maybe Senator Eichelberger should read the article "Go South, Young Homo" in this month's Philadelphia Magazine. In it, Jessica Remo points out that the area is experiencing a Renaissance and becoming economically revitalized by an influx of gay and lesbian businesses and residents moving in. And the residents and traditional business owners have started welcoming the influx with open arms.
Kevin Gillen, a Penn research fellow, explains that "This is the classic pattern, the artists and musicians are the first to take a risk in an emerging neighborhood. Then come the gay couples, who typically don't have children and so don't have the same worries about safety and school districts as young families."
What she found most amazing was the welcome they were getting from the long time locals and fellow business people. Especially the elderly residents who have lived and raised their families in South Philly all their lives. They are discovering what all our neighbors tend to find out if they give us a chance, we tend to be damn friendly, open and honest, and very good for business. One elderly lady was almost complaining that since a couple moved in next door she has had little time to read her books, as they are often over visiting with her. Another long time resident told of the pierced and tattooed young man who let another resident know she had left her change behind on the counter of the local market.
I bet the residents of South Philadelphia could teach Senator Eichelberger a thing or two about what makes a real community and what it means to be a real neighbor.
Cross posted from Truth And Love After 40