The Supreme Court struck down DOMA on Wednesday, but that only helps gay marriages in the 15 states where it's legal; Pennsylvania is not one of these. Hence Keystone Progress helps you tell your Governor and state legislators to legalize gay marriages in the Keystone state. If you see that as an uphill battle, remember that gay marriage opponents have failed to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage five times since 2006, with their latest attempt in May attracting only 27 co-sponsors so far. Of course, they can still prevent gay marriages in Pennsylvania by doing nothing. But I'm going to go out on a limb and presume that there might actually still be some actual conservatives in Pennsylvania's legislature -- like the ones who scuttled Mr. Corbett's voucher bill in 2011 because it would have cost too much money -- and that the reactionary sheen the legislature's taken on since Mr. Corbett's election is just a fever, curable via application of the popular will.
Meanwhile, Mr. Obama began his trip to Africa this week, and Amnesty International helps you tell Mr. Obama to condemn anti-gay discrimination while there. 38 African countries prosecute homosexuality as a crime, and four of these mandate the death penalty for said "crime." But why do we care what Mr. Obama says over there? Because what he said over here made a big difference, that's why -- even though his stated position back in May of 2012 wasn't that different from Dick Cheney's, even though he let Joe Biden lead the charge on that position change, it was still a big deal, because he's the President and what the President says matters to us, whether we want that to be true or not, whether we agree with him or not. And maybe, just maybe, what he says will matter to Africans, too. What's it going to hurt? Are things going to get worse for gays in Africa because of some perceived impertinence on Mr. Obama's part? It can't get much worse than death.
In other news, the New York City Council overrode a Mayor Bloomberg veto of their paid sick leave law this week, meaning that businesses with 20 or more employees will have to grant five paid sick days annually to their workers, and by 2015, businesses with 15-19 employees will have to do the same. It's not even every worker in New York City, but it is a start -- and, as you know, New York is a big place, so it could catch on. And yet America is also a big place, hence Moms Rising helps you tell your Congressfolk to support H.R. 1286/S. 631, the Healthy Families Act, which would mandate businesses employing more than 15 people to offer seven days of paid sick leave annually. Mayor Bloomberg, just like a good right-winger, bemoans costs to businesses and unintended consequences for workers. But what of the consequences of having sick folk come to work because they have no choice and make their customers and co-workers sick? Or the consequences of having to train new workers because you've fired the ones who've missed a few days?
Finally (cue cheers from convention crowd!), the Union of Concerned Scientists helps you leave a public comment on the EPA's proposed Tier 3 tailpipe emissions standards. Long story short: you'll be telling the EPA you'd like fewer tailpipe emissions, please, so your lungs don't clog up with smog and soot. Why you're bothering: because the oil corporations don't particularly want to clean up their act -- this, despite the automobile manufacturing corporations' support for cleaning up tailpipe emissions! I suppose a desperate right-winger could always try telling us that this is all part of Obama's nefarious plan to set the oil companies and the car companies against each other! And who knows? That might be right! But if the end result is cleaner air, less asthma, fewer lost work days, and fewer lost school days, then why exactly would I care? (Be quick with the comments, good peoples, because the EPA will stop taking them on this matter after July 1.)