Fighting for equal rights for LGBT citizens
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act currently prohibits discrimination in the areas of employment, housing and accommodations based on an individual’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, education status, handicap, or disability.
However, this same act does not include providing a basic level of protection for our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) citizens.
We are the sixth-largest state economy in the country – and still the only state in the Northeast without these basic protections.
In late August, legislation was introduced to prohibit discrimination against the LGBT community.
The legislation H.B. 1510 known as the Pennsylvania Fairness Act, is primarily sponsored by state Reps. Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny) and Tom Killion (R-Delaware) in the House; and state Sens. Pat Browne (R- Lehigh) and Larry Farnese (D-Phila) in the Senate.
This is truly a bi-partisan, bi-cameral initiative.
House Bill 1510 – formerly H.B./S.B. 300 – will update Pennsylvania’s 1955 Human Relations Act by adding just six words to ensure all people, including gay and transgender people, are protected from discrimination in the Commonwealth.
Updating the Human Relations Act will make the state a stronger economic competitor in attracting the highly skilled millennial workforce.
Pennsylvania’s current and future workforce deserves to be judged based on their qualifications to do the work — nothing more, nothing less.
Let’s work together to ensure that Pennsylvania is open for business for everyone and is as vibrant as possible in attracting qualified workers.
Pennsylvania should be seen as a place that welcomes any individual who wants to work hard, succeed and contribute to our economy, without the fear of being fired or refused services simply because of who they are or who they love.
I am an early co-sponsor of H.B. 1510, and have worked diligently over the past two terms to seek support for and passage of this important legislation. The bill was referred to the State Government Committee in September.
This legislation is a matter of fairness, a matter of economics and a matter of common sense. LGBT men and women are not strangers living in the shadows – they are our parents, sons, daughters, siblings, friends and co-workers.
They play integral roles in our communities and should be afforded basic protections under the law.
This legislative effort is years old, and it is time for this to become law.
Stay tuned, as we may need a citizen groundswell to get this to the Governor’s desk.
Questions? Comments? Contact me here.