Human Relations Commission Chair Stephen Glassman has a well-written, thoughtful argument in support of the passage of HB 300.
It is unacceptable that such basic civil rights are not ensured for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender individuals under current Pennsylvania law. The city of Pittsburgh has recognized this, passing a local ordinance several years ago granting these rights to people who work and live here. But such ordinances exist in only 13 municipalities across the commonwealth.
Twenty other states, including three of our neighbors, have laws on the books protecting these civil rights. At a time when population and job growth are crucial to our economic success, those states have a competitive advantage over Pennsylvania in terms of welcoming potential new residents and job-creating businesses.
The economic arguement is quite compelling for those who fail to see the import of the human rights argument. I would put forth that it also supports the reason we need to invest equal resources toward the passage of the Allegheny County HRC Ordinance.
Glassman argues that Pennsylvania is woefully late in passing this legislation. Allegheny County residents should carefully consider that reality. 13 municipalities have beat us to the punch. We are the second largest county in the Commonwealth and home to the second largest city in the Commonwealth.
We should be a leader in protecting vulnerable citizens, not in 14th place.