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Rep. Thompson in National Spotlight

Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Centre, is in the national headlines after reports emerged he attended his gay son’s wedding just three days after joining the majority of his Republican colleagues in voting against a House bill that would codify federal protections for same-sex marriage.

Gawker reported on the pending nuptials in an article published Thursday, the day before the ceremony, though it was not reported whether Thompson would attend until we confirmed the details Monday.

“Congressman and Mrs. Thompson were thrilled to attend and celebrate their son’s marriage on Friday night as he began this new chapter in his life,” Thompson’s Press Secretary Maddison Stone said in a statement. “The Thompsons are very happy to welcome their new son-in-law into their family.”

Thompson was one of 157 House Republicans who voted against ‘The Respect for Marriage Act’ last Tuesday.

“This bill was nothing more than an election-year messaging stunt for Democrats in Congress who have failed to address historic inflation and out-of-control prices at gas pumps and grocery stores,” Stone said in a statement last week about Thompson’s decision to vote against the bill.

Thompson spoke out against same-sex marriage in 2015, when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriages, tweeting after the ruling that it, “disregards the will of millions of Americans by forcing them to redefine biblical marriage as defined by their faith.”

When asked if Thompson could be made available to talk about his decision making Tuesday, Stone said that Thompson “is very busy this week” and would not be available for an interview.

Local gay rights groups said they were appalled by what they read.

“I just couldn’t wrap my head around that and as LGBTQ parents our goal as all parents is to support and advocate for our children, not vote against their happiness,” said Cat Cook, Director of Operations for Centre LGBTQA Support Network. “Everyone benefits from a society that is more accepting and inconclusive, by protecting same-sex marriage it sends a clear message that discrimination is not tolerated as well.”

John Debartola, president of the Cambria County-based Keystone Alliance/Gaylife Newsletter who has also run for local office as a Republican, said he reached out to Thompson’s office Tuesday after learning about the situation.

“I would like all politicians to remember we had to fight for our right to exist,” Debartola said. “Thompson gave his platform, he proved he was a hypocrite.”

Debartola has been advocating for same-sex rights for more than 20 years. He said in that time he has battled members of both political parties, on a local, state, and federal level, who have opposed benefits and rights for same-sex couples.

“I’m afraid that we’ve hit a point in the gay rights struggle that after all this history, after sponsoring freedom week, and weeks of advocacy, and protesting, and letters to the editor, and marches, we’re going back to a point now where the states have to codify that we exist and I think that’s wrong,” Debartola said. “I would hope all of our politicians will take a stand on the issue and respect the marriage bill.”

‘The Respect for Marriage Act’ is now in the hands of the senate, where NBC reports five Republican senators have already confirmed they’ll support it, including Rob Portman of Ohio, who declared his support for same-sex marriage in 2013 after his son came out as gay.

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