Pittsburgh's LGBTQ Blog ... out'n proud in the Burghosphere.

Bookmark and Share
Year Archive
View Article  Good Legislative Stuff Happens in PA, too

It is hard to keep up with the good stuff, but I'm sure you want to know about it ....


HB 300 sponsored by Representative Dan Frankel

SB 910 sponsored by Senator Lawrence Farnese

These bills will expand the Human Relations Act to include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression as protected classes.

Hate Crimes   

HB 1372 sponsored by Representative Josh Shapiro

SB 586 sponsored by Senator Jim Ferlo

These bills will expand hate crime definitions and protections based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.


SB 191 sponsored by Senator LeAnne Washington

Sexual Education

HB 416 sponsored by Representative Chelsa Wagner

Civil Unions

HB 708 sponsored by Rep Mark Cohen      

Marriage Equality

SB 461 sponsored by Senator Daylin Leach                 

View Article  Update on pro-equality legislation in Pennsylvania

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. 


View Article  The impact of HUD's anti-discrimination rules on Pittsburgh and Allegheny County

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.

Traditionally, HUD requires all applicants for competitive grant funding to comply with all applicable federal fair housing and civil rights requirements including those expressed in Fair Housing Act; Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Now HUD will further stipulate that applicants and their sub-recipients must comply with state or local laws proscribing housing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. It is estimated there are approximately 20 states and the District of Columbia that have laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation discrimination. In addition, 12 states and the District of Columbia prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.

HUD?s General Section will not consider an applicant?s submission if they fail to meet minimum thresholds which will now include being able to demonstrate that they have not been charged with a systemic violation of state or local law proscribing discrimination in housing based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

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 ...


Follow PghLesbian24 on Twitter

The Correspondents