In December 2016, residents of Mt. Lebanon gathered for a ‘Unity Rally’ in response to multiple incidents of crimes targeting vulnerable members of the community.
One year later, seeds planted at this rally led to the passage of a municipal ordinance protecting the LGBTQ community from nondiscrimination.
Similar to one enacted eight years ago in Allegheny County, the measure creates an equal opportunity board to hear and adjudicate complaints of discrimination, based on gender identity, sexual orientation and other factors in employment, housing and public accommodations.
Mt. Lebanon is an affluent suburb of Pittsburgh, part of the 18th Congressional District seat up for Special Election to replace disgraced adulterer and secret abortion proponent, Tim Murphy (R.) They are also represented in the State Senate by Guy Reschenthaler who supports using CHIP renewal votes to politicize anti-trans health policies. State Assemblyman, Rep Dan Miller, helped to organize and lead the Unity Rally I mentioned above.
This is why municipal action matters. When you can’t count on your statewide and national leaders to take care of the rights of LGBTQ residents, especially youth and children, it is imperative that municipal leaders act. And passing local ordinances is one of the most concrete ways to address real issues.
The Suburban and Rural Alliance of Pennsylvania has detailed information on how municipal ordinances work and how they interact with state and federal laws (or lack of laws.) If you are thinking about championing such an ordinance in your municipality, reach out to them for guidance. We need more momentum. You can be the catalyst in your municipality.
Mt. Lebanon is the 44th municipality in Pennsylvania to pass such an ordinance and the 4th municipality in Western Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh, Erie County, Allegheny County.) Western Pennsylvania has 4. The rest of Pennsylvania has 40.
The City of Beaver and the City of Johnstown have active measures proposed to establish similar ordinances, but they are experiencing terrible backlash using the familiar tactics of fear mongering around bathrooms & dressing room as well as religious liberty arguments. So if you want to get involved to help activists on the ground, message me and I can put you in touch.
Kudos to Mt. Lebanon for a unanimous vote to address a serious matter around unity and equality and fairness. This is a strong and important message in the heart of purple Southwestern Pennsylvania. And leading into the Trans Day of Remembrance, this stand FOR fairness and equality is especially poignant.
Guy Reschenthaler, are you paying attention?
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