From our friends at Steel City Stonewall Democrats comes word that 7 out of 9 members of City Council have agreed to support the proposed “Will of Council” which essentially gives a big thumbs up to state legislation that would include “sexual orientation” and gender identity and expression” as protected classes under the Human Relations Act. These protections already exist within the City; this action underscores that those protections have strengthened the City
Two aren't supporting it. That would be Councilman Dan Deasy of District 2 (which includes the neighborhoods of Banksville, Chartiers City, Crafton Heights, Duquene Heights, East Carnegie, Eliott, Esplen, Fairywood, Mount Washington, Oakwood, Ridgemont, and Sheraden). That would also be Councilman Ricky Burgess of District 9 (includes the neighborhoods of East Hills, East Liberty, Homewood, Larimer, Lincoln/Lemingon/Belmar, And Point Breeze North).
I can only speculate as to why either man would choose to stand silently by while this opportunity passes. Reverend Burgess is a former board member of the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force so it is inconceivable that he not be aware of the discrimination so many members of our community have faced in the housing market and on the job. Surely, he must have absorbed that the stigma of AIDS is deeply intertwined with the stigma of being gay and that a just society does not allow vulnerable individuals to go without a place to live or the means to feed their family simply because they don't fit in.
I believe unanimity is important on this issue. I have oft stated that Pittsburgh is a good place to be gay and that Pittsburgh's gay community strengthens the entire region. A hallmark of my belief rests on the legacy of this local piece of legislation that could. We have inherited a Mayor who does not believe in civil unions, but we do have the fortune to stand upon the shoulders of many activists who worked tirelessly to achieve this reform.
I'll be at work tomorrow when Council votes on this. Maybe someone can email me the outcome?