This week, City Council in Butler, Pennsylvania will vote on an ordinance to create municipal level protections for residents based on protected classes (gender, race, religion, etc) including sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
For months, members of PFLAG Butler have been working tirelessly to educate members of council and the larger community about the need for this ordinance. They have attended every hearing, meeting and conference. They have connected council members with other legislators in municipalities that do have these ordinances in place. They have countered the distortions, the misunderstandings and the misinformation.
They even created a nice explanation of why the ordinance matters and how it works which you can read here. Please share!
Now, they need you to turn out on Thursday for the meeting as a show of support.
Thursday, October 27, 2016
City of Butler Public Safety Building – 140 N. Washington Street Butler, PA 16001
We actually do not have many #AMPLIFY contributions from the City of Butler, but we have quite a few from the general vicinity. What’s more the most consistently identified priority, need, solution and so forth among all of the AMPLIFY contributor is the need for nondiscrimination protections. Period. Nothing else has that much consensus. Read through the responses to see for yourself.
Our community understands that we need these laws to have a fair shake in this world. Discrimination at work, in our housing choices and in the community is real. My suspicion is that people actually play down the everyday microagressions that erode our life experiences because they aren’t overhwhelmingly awful. I suspect this is the case because I can state without hesitation that I have experienced discrimination and harassment in every single workplace I’ve been since I came out in the late 1990’s. Every. Single. One.
And, yes, I never feared actually losing my job – because I knew I had the Pgh City ordinance to back me up (and my lawyer girlfriend.) I had to pull that out of my pocket three separate times with two different employers. The ordinance mattered. One of my employers had HQ offices outside of Allegheny County so I actually had a little anxiety about whether the ordinance would apply, but I was fortunate enough that the CEO had my back (I worked in the City office.)
It matters. And it has been SEVEN YEARS since a Western Pennsylvania municipality took action (Allegheny County in 2009) on this issue. To date, we have exactly THREE municipal ordinances in all of Western PA – Allegheny County, Erie County and Pittsburgh. That’s it.
What’s more interesting is this 2011 data measuring the level of voter support for nondiscrimination ordinances. Take a look at the region with the lowest level of support – Southwestern PA outside of Allegheny County. Not the North. Not the “T” and not Central PA.
So here you have this reality
- We have the lowest number of actual ordinances.
- We have the lowest level of support for ordinances EXCEPT where they already exist.
- AMPLIFY shows that LGBTQ folks overwhelmingly want these protections
A win in Butler will be a major victory for those actual neighbors, but also for the larger region. You can be part of that victory by turning out on Thursday to show your support. If you have questions, contact PFLAG Butler.