Some stark realities are tempering the local celebration by gay rights supporters after the U.S. Supreme Court issued two favorable rulings for gay marriage, which is banned in Pennsylvania.
It's still legal to be fired or evicted for being gay in Pennsylvania, and even those Yorkers who wed their partners in a state where gay marriage is legal, such as Maryland, aren't entitled to legal rights after they cross the state line to go home, said Ted Martin, executive director of gay rights group Equality Pa.
"The bittersweet part of it for Pennsylvania is that what the court did is strike down the Defense of Marriage Act and said couples married in states that recognize gay marriage can apply for federal benefits," Martin said. "Pa. has its own defense of marriage act, so it doesn't apply."
The Supreme Court ruling doesn't address the validity of gay marriage bans in about three dozen states, including Pennsylvania. The commonwealth is the only northeastern state that doesn't allow same-sex marriage except New Jersey, which allows civil unions. Pennsylvania doesn't allow civil unions, and a spokesman for Republican Gov. Tom Corbett says he supports a state constitutional ban on gay marriage.
So while gay rights supporters cheered the federal court's decision, state and local advocates said Pennsylvanians need to turn their attention to state laws.
And the proposals they support are garnering little support from York County's legislative delegation.
'A big step': Joseph Dungee, operations manager for Equality Pa., said the ruling is "a big step," "But we have a lot of work ahead of us. For the folks of York and Pennsylvania in general, their marriage is not legal."
Dungee said activists in some states might now be gearing to push the legislature to recognize gay marriage, but gays in Pennsylvania continue to lack the fundamental protections as every other citizen.
The group can't fight for gay marriage, he said, until gays are free from discrimination in their housing and workplaces.
"Marriage equality is a very glamorous issue, but it is still legal to fire someone in Pennsylvania for being LGBT," he said.
Equality Pa. is working to first end discrimination in employment and housing "and then hopefully we can pursue an agenda that includes marriage equality in Pennsylvania."
Dungee said he hopes the Supreme Court's decision pushes gay equality, but "we'll have to wait and see."
"I think there will probably be some backlash," he said. "The decision will upset people in opposition to equality. So I think that you'll probably see right wing legislators come out and try to extend discrimination. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out. But I think today is a good day."
He said civil rights issues don't typically move backward, and the political winds appear to be in the favor of gay rights supporters.
In separate decisions Wednesday, the court wiped away part of a federal anti-gay marriage law that has kept legally married same-sex couples (in states where gay marriage is legal) from receiving tax, health and pension benefits.
The second ruling left in place a trial court's declaration that California's Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. That outcome probably will allow state officials to order the resumption of same-sex weddings in about a month.
Local lawmakers: York legislators have authored no legislation to address the discrimination, and only two -the county's only two Democrats - have co-sponsored bills that do.
House Bill 300 was the first piece of legislation co-sponsored by newly seated Rep. Kevin Schreiber, D-York City. It and its Senate counterpart, Senate Bill 300, would add anti-discrimination provisions for sexual orientation, including lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and people who are transgender.
Both bills would make it illegal for landlords, employers and others to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation.
Schreiber was the lone member of York's House delegation to sign onto the legislation, and Sen. Rob Teplitz, D-York/Dauphin counties, was York's only senator to co-sponsor.
Both men said change is slow, and Wednesday's rulings don't necessarily pave the road to change in Pennsylvania.
"I think the general populous mood is certainly changing," Schreiber said. "There is a changing of the tide and more and more individuals are becoming more accepting of this. But I think in the General Assembly, we're probably not there yet, but this is hopefully a sign of things to come."
Teplitz said he can see both chambers advancing the discrimination bill before advocating for gay marriage.
"I don't think it's too much to act that people not be fired ... or discriminated against in other ways because they happen to be gay," he said. "If we can't even do the basics like protect people from discrimination, then it's probably extremely unlikely to ever get to a point of marriage equality."
Martin said he's optimistic the attention from the ruling will educate people and push change.
"People say all the time, 'I can't believe people can be fired,' and I have to say, 'Yes, they can.'"
Several of York County's Republican legislators did not return calls for comment. Rep. Ron Miller, R-Jacobus, declined to comment.
- The Associated Press contributed to this report. Reach Christina Kauffman at email@example.com.