This nifty little pie chart from the Guardian is a great way to illustrate where our various states stand with regard to STATEWIDE equal rights.
Pennsylvania has nothing.
Marriage – banned
Hospital visitation – no clear cut rights
Adoption – single parent adoption is legal (same sex adoption is not a law)
Employment – no protections from discrimination
Housing – no protection from discrimination
Hate Crimes – no protections
Schools – no specific rights
Nothing. Well, maybe a half point for single parent adoption as some states only permit married couples to adopt.
Are you stunned? Good, you should be because conventional wisdom is that things are better than they really are. Fortunately, we do have many protections on the local level – I believe 27 municipalities have non-discrimination protections for employment & housing. And there are federal laws for hate crimes, but that applies to federal crimes. Assault is not a federal crime. Schools? Well, we have the wonderful folks at GLSEN working in the schools but with budget cuts and staff cuts, is there much time to educate staff & faculty?
I say this because you need to be shocked. You need to realize that your plans for a second parent adoption are NOT just about finding an affordable lawyer. You need to realize that LGBTQ persons in Pennsylvania have almost no rights. We are on part with Ohio. That’s sad.
I’m going to ask you to let that sink in a bit before offering advice on what to do. But beginning in June, I’m going to devote one post each week to these issues and help explain how you make an impact for the better.
In the meantime, I suggest you take a look at the chart and see how they measured these things. And have an honest inner dialogue about this.