Friday, May 6
by Sue on Fri 06 May 2011 02:37 PM EDT
It is hard to keep up with the good stuff, but I'm sure you want to know about it ....
Friday, February 25
by Sue on Fri 25 Feb 2011 12:29 PM EST
State Representive Cohen has introduced a measure that would expand existing law to recognize civil unions. HB708 has several familiar cosponsors, including Dan Frankel, Jake Wheatley, Chelsa Wagner, Dom Costa, Paul Costa, Mark Gergely. 41 sponsors in total. This legislation has been referred to the Judiciary Committee as of February 12, 2011. Several cosponsors sit in the Judiciary Committee.
State Senator Daylin Leach introduced a similarly timed bill to extend marriage to same sex couples. SB 461 was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 9, 2011. More on why Senator is ardent on this issue.
In addition, State Representative Josh Shapiro is poised to introduce legislation which would amend the Hate Crimes statute to include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
Also, Representative Dan Frankel from right here in Pittsburgh plans to reintroduce legislation that expands protected class to include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. This would provide protectsion in housing, public accomadation and in the workplace.
Interesting situation to have 4 critical pieces of legislation in a state controlled by Republicans. I'm sure there's a strategy. I'll keep you informed on any momentum these pick up as well as the potential reintroduction of marriage discrimination legislation to put a DOMA referendum before the voters.
Saturday, June 12
by Sue on Sat 12 Jun 2010 10:04 AM EDT
OK, folks, so finally we see some payoff from the Allegheny County Anti-Discrimination ordinance in practical terms.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued new rules requiring grant recipients to comply with local anti-discrimination laws.
This means all local HUD grant recipients will be forced to comply with the City and County ordinances that protect these classes. I once sat on a HUD revew committee and several of the applicants were faith based organizatons so it will be fascinating to watch the various loopholes shake themselves out in light of this far-reaching federal mandate.
It also adds some teeth to local Section 8 voucher recipients who might encounter, shall we say, resistance, from landlords who don't want to move a gay family into their property (they aren't supposed to have a choice to reject applicants, but let's be serious).
This is like a federal matching grant in its awesome implications. None of these grant recipients can sidestep the local law by playing the federal Fair Housing Act card. Inspiring news for local fair housing advocates who have worked tirelessly to build these (and other protections) into local ordinances, place by place while the Fair Housing Act itself is what needs to change. HUD can't change legislation, but this powerful move sends positive signs about future directions when the Act comes up for reauthorization.
My hat is off once again to Allegheny County Council for paving the way to ensure fair housing for economically vulnerable folks in the County.
One last fact. Some HUD grant recipients play ball in multiple counties. The easiest thing to implement will be program wide non-discrimination rather than cherry picking locations that don't have these expansive protections. We'll see what happens ...