PA House Introduces LGBT Non-Discrimination Bill

Courtesy of the Value All Families Coalition and Equality Advocates Pennsylvania…

(Harrisburg, PA) –Legislation prohibiting discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in housing, employment, and public accommodations was introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives today. A press conference was held in the capitol to announce the bill’s introduction.

 The bill, HB 1400, was co-sponsored by a record 70 members of the House. Similar legislation, SB761, was introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate in April with a record number of 22 co-sponsors. The Senate bill has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House bill is expected to go to the House State Government Committee where it has been assigned in the past.

 The Value All Families Coalition worked with legislative allies to gather support for this amendment to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. Rep. Dan Frankel (D-Alleghany) and Sen. Pat Browne (R-Lehigh, Monroe, Northhampton), the prime sponsors of the House and Senate versions of the bill, spoke about the importance of this non-discrimination legislation in Pennsylvania. Rep. Babette Josephs (D-Philadelphia), the Chair of the House State Government Committee, addressed the need for education and hearings on this issue.

 “This legislation is critical to thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Pennsylvanians who are trying to work and have a roof over their heads. I urge the legislature to move this legislation forward. It is needed. It is fair. It is time,” said Stacey Sobel, executive director of Equality Advocates Pennsylvania.

 Current Pennsylvania law provides basic legal protection against discrimination on the bases of race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, handicap or disability, education and the use of a guide dog.Thirteen Pennsylvania municipalities have already enacted civil rights laws including protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. These municipalities are Allentown, Easton, Erie County, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Lansdowne, New Hope, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Scranton, Swarthmore, West Chester and York. State College also has an ordinance that only covers sexual orientation discrimination in housing. Approximately, seventy-five percent of the state’s twelve million residents live or work in communities that do not provide these protections. Twenty states in the country have similar laws, including our neighboring states of New Jersey, Maryland and New York.

In response, the fundie wing-nuts at the American Family Association of Pennsylvania have released their unique brand of hate-laced made up shit.

Homosexuals are once again pulling the victim card and trying to seek the normalization of their destructive lifestyle.  They have never been required to sit in the back of the bus or drink from designated water fountains.  Furthermore they have never been denied the right to vote or considered less than human as African Americans once were.  Homosexuals want special rights simply because of the sexual activity in which they engage, noted Diane Gramley, president of the AFA of PA. 

Well, Diane, its good that you so tidily sum up hundreds of years of civil rights struggles in a few sentences.  Why everything is just fine and dandy for your average Pennsylvanian African-American.  Your “message” clearly shows that you have no clue what life is like in the Commonwealth's African-American community and shame on you for hoisting that flag for your own agenda of hate. 

Stand up to the hate spewed in the name of Jesus.  Contact your House Rep and State Senator today. 

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