You can read the nice write up from Marty Levine here.
If you read my summary of the recent Valley New Dispatch article, you won't be surprised that there really isn't any more news on the legislation. It is sitting in committee with about 100 million amendments to protect religious bigots and is under assault from the highly organized right wing.
The left wing is struggling. There have been no recent missives with targeted calls to action. There was a meeting this past Sunday, but no communication about the meeting has been shared (I think that's where Marty got his information). I have no idea which legislators are wavering so I can't tell you if you need to ramp up the momentum in your district. I am trying to get that information.
My call? This legislation stands no chance in hell of passing without the public support of the County ordinance by Dan Onorato. The two bills are inextricably intertwined, especially in terms of the public support of the SW block of Democrats. Without high profile public support, such as what Onorato could bring to the local franchise of the party, it won't go anywhere. That's painfully evident in that the primary sponsor and champion of the statewide bill is a local Democrat (Frankel). The contrast of Frankel to other local elected Democrats illustrates that there is work to be done right in our own backyard.
That's a shame for those in our community who are not protected by local ordinances. Clearly, a statewide protection is in the best interests of everyone, including heterosexuals. Equally clear to me is that we need to be better oganized. But we haven't done the heavy lifting here in SW Pennsylvania to generate the groundswell of support necessary for forward movement. We need more champions at the County level and that's not going to happen if information is not shared with the general community. No, inviting people to a meeting in the middle of a Sunday does not count. Sorry. It may be useful, but in an era with tremendous technological options, it is not enough. There's no use of twitter on this issue. There's very little use of Facebook.
I'm clearly not on board with a statewide agenda because I think it is diverting attention and energy away from a more practical focus on the local level. That's a very unpopulat position to take, but my experiences with the organizers have convinced me that we simply don't have the infrastructure to make it happen. Frankel is smart to keep the statewide bill in committee and avoid an unfavorable floor vote b/c it does give our community a chance to tout the progress of being voted out of committee in the first place.
I'm in an unusual position of being in the middle of an oddly liberal area of the Northside. Our reps on the City, County and State level are a smidge left of center so that they are all pretty much on board with this issue. I don't have to convince Tonya Payne or Amanda Green that gay people are people, too. We're good.
I've still think Onorato and Ravenstahl are both going to use PrideFest to grandstand, costing us more than six more weeks of the rightwing chipping away at LGBTQ legislative support in this region.
So my call to action is for you to call the Mayor's office (412-255-2626) and the County Chief Executive's office (412-350-6500) and ask them when they will go public (Mayor on LGBT Advisory Council and Onorato on endorsing the County ordinance) in support of the LGBTQ community.
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