Regardless of who wins in November, the next representative in the 4th Congressional District is likely to vote in favor of gay civil unions if the issue makes it to the House of Representatives.

Both of the major party contenders support equal treatment for gays, as does at least one third-party candidate. But the men stop short of consensus on abortion.

Gay marriage: State Rep. Scott Perry, R-Dillsburg, said he's not a proponent of "gay marriage," "because it redefines marriage as people know it."

But, straying from his typically conservative platform, he said he could be willing to explore some other method through which homosexual couples could be joined, and he wouldn't exclude them from the same rights as heterosexual people, such as filing joint tax returns, he said.

"If you want to call it something other than marriage, fine," he said. "Depending on the specific details, it would be reasonable to have government recognition. A

level playing field is fine. Generally speaking, the choice of who you love shouldn't determine what your benefits are."

Democrat Harry Perkinson said if two consenting adults want to recognize their relationship, "that's a marriage," but there could be religious orders opposed to calling it marriage.

While he doesn't see a distinction, he said he would be willing to consider civil unions as a means to find middle ground as long as gays have the same rights and privileges as heterosexual couples.

Libertarian Mike Koffenberger said he believes in and is a partner in a traditional marriage, but he has gay friends and family and doesn't want to "see the government squash their happiness."

He said he doesn't want government involvement in marriage "at all," and that gays should enjoy the same government recognition as heterosexual people.

Abortion: Perry is the only anti-abortion candidate, saying he believes abortion should be illegal except for cases of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is in jeopardy.

A father of two, Perry said he wishes abortion would never happen, but there are some circumstances beyond the control of the mother.

"The life of the child is innocent in those circumstances (of rape, incest, and when a mother's life is jeopardy); however, I don't have to carry a child from rape or incest and bear the burden of that for life."

On abortion, Perkinson said he's "not necessarily in favor," but "The woman decides. It's her choice to decide what's right for her with the help of her medical advisers."

He said it would be advantageous to reduce the number of abortions through education and birth control "instead of outlawing it."

Koffenberger said the government should have no stance on abortion.

"There will never be an agreement to satisfy either side except to keep government out of it," he said, adding that outlawing it would be a violation of women's rights, and women should be able to make the choice that's best for them.

Independent candidate Wayne Wolff could not be reached to comment for this series of questions.

-- Reach Christina Kauffman at ckauffman@yorkdispatch.com.

-- Look for the third article in The York Dispatch's 4th Congressional District candidate series on Monday, Oct. 10.