Update on Allegheny County Council Anti-Discrimination Ordinance
It is important that you stay in the loop to keep the pressure on our County Council to pass a good version of this ordinance. You know the turnout for the hearing was good. You know that the ordinance was referred back to committee for further consideration and no date has been set for a Council vote.
Yesterday, Sue Frietsche of the Women's Law Project was invited to give expert testimony and to clarify why the language should include "gender expression." Sue and her team are preparing a one-page fact sheet that I will share with you so that you understand the nuance of this argument.
The point right now is to keep the calls coming in support of this ordinance. It is especially important to call:
Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato 412-350-6500 firstname.lastname@example.org
You can look up your County Council District by following this link:
Sponsors you should call to thank and remind them that we need the language to remain inclusive
Jim Burn, Dist. 3
Joan Cleary, Dist. 6
Nick Futules, Dist. 7
Chuck Martoni, Dist. 8
William Russell Robinson, Dist. 10
Rich Fitzgerald, Dist. 11
Amanda Green (lead sponsor), Dist. 13
John DeFazio, Council At-Large
Co-sponsors who withdrew their sponsorship and need to hear from you. I have more specifics on their districts and coverage of their decision to cave to pressure from the right-wing here.
Matt Drozd, Dist. 1
Michael Finnerty, Dist. 4
Bob Macey, Dist. 9
Jim Ellenbogen, Dist. 12
In case you wish to encourage the non-sponsors to become co-sponsors or express your thoughts on their vote, here is their contact information. NOTE: Jane Rea stayed for the entire hearing so you can thank her for listening. Vince Gastged made some very interesting comments that you can read here. I don't think he understands how discrminination hurts people and the community, I really don't. This is especially sad as he is the parent of a special needs child (his words).
Chuck McCollough, Council At-Large
Jan Rea, District 2
Vince Gastgeb, District 5
Folks, there is no time to take a breather. Minds are being made up now and it is important that your voice be heard. A version that does not include gender identity and gender expression is not acceptable. We must insist on an inclusive ordinance that is adequately funded to provide for the necessary resources to educate the public, landlords and employers about these issues (an ounce of prevention) as well as enforcement procedures (pound of cure).
This would be a great time for you to write a letter to the editor of the Post-Gazette about their coverage of this issue, the op/ed from a member of the faith community or the general issue. A great time to share an experience of discrimination that might help people understand why this is so important. Click here to send a letter to the editor. Not many have been published so you probably have a good shot to get something printed.
Keep it up, good people of Pittsburgh. Don't let those Venango County hatefest folks hold back our community's progress.