Law and Government Produced In Session to Look at Same-Sex Marriage
Web Editor - Published: April 13, 2012

Top, New York State Senator Jim Alesi, and bottom, Chely Wright.

On Monday, April 16th, Associate Professor Wesley M. Oliver will travel to New York City to host a special taping of the Pennsylvania Cable Network’s “In Session” titled “The Future of Same-Sex Marriage” at 2:00 p.m. in Lipton Hall. The episode will air on PCN on Sunday, April 22nd.

Since the 2010-2011 academic year, the Widener Law & Government Institute faculty and student-fellows have produced a monthly "In Session:" panel discussion show for PCN totaling eight episodes per year.

Oliver will speak with two unlikely champions of same-sex marriage as Pennsylvania considers legislation to define marriage as being "between one man and one woman." Country singer Chely Wright, who recently married under New York's new same-sex marriage law, and Senator Jim Alesi, the first Republican in the New York Senate to announce his support for same-sex marriage, will join Professor Oliver for the show.

Richell Rene "Chely" Wright is a country music artist and gay rights activist. Her recent book is entitled, Like Me: Confessions of a Heartland Country Singer. She was awarded the Academy of Country Music's Top New Female Vocalist Award in 1995 and was named one of People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in the World in 2002.

In 2009, though he was the Republican regarded as most likely to support same-sex marriage, Senator Jim Alesi voted against the measure. In 2011, he was the first Republican to publicly support it and was joined by three members of his party in the senate to allow same-sex marriage to become law in New York. He has become an activist nationally on this issue -- and recently spoke at a rally saying, "I am a Republican. I was born that way."