On Thursday December 8, Carlisle Borough in Eastern Pennsylvania voted 5-2 to approve a local non-discrimination ordinance that includes sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression as protected classes.
Carlisle is the 37 municipality to take action to protect LGBTQ residents while the PA General Assembly remains unable to move forward on similar statewide legislation that has stalled for more than a decade. Pennsylvania is the only Northeastern state without statewide protections.
From the Pennsylvania Youth Congress which has a complete list of municipal ordinances on their website.
As of November 2016, 36 of the 2,566 Pennsylvania municipalities have passed local non-discrimination ordinances since 1982. This amounts to approximately 34% of the Pennsylvania population (US Census – 2015 Estimates.)
Take a close look at this map (which has not been updated to include Carlisle) created by the PA Youth Congress to track the progress of the municipality by municipality approach.
Similar legislation is being considered in the City of Butler thanks to the hard work of the local PFLAG Chapter. Butler would be the first Western Pennsylvania municipality to pass an ordinance since 2009. Only three Western PA municipalities have these protections – City of Pittsburgh, Erie County and Allegheny County.
That map is a little overwhelming, right? 24 counties in the #AMPLIFY project have no protections for their residents.
Given the failure of the state legislature to take action, the only choice seems to be a ground battle – moving municipality by municipality across the Commonwealth. If you’d like to see something similar happen in your municipality, you can connect with the PA Youth Congress for advice and support; they’ve been involved in most of these efforts.
This is video courtesy of PennLive.com of a resident speaking in favor of the ordinance. You can click this link to watch a video of someone opposed to the ordinance and listen to his distorted representation of the facts. No one in our community thinks that this type of ordinance will prevent some jagoff from screaming slurs at us on the street. No one. We do, however, know with certainty that these ordinances can keep us from enduring that in our workplaces or when we are having dinner with our families.