Pennsylvania Legislators Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Protect LGBT PeopleBy Cameron Tolle • August 26, 2015 • 4:22 pm
Today, state Sens. Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) and Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia) and Reps. Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny) and Tom Killion (R-Delaware) introduced the Pennsylvania Fairness Act, which would update the state’s 1955 Human Relations Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.
Sen Pat Browne—the lead Republican sponsor of the bill—said this legislation is needed to strengthen the state’s economy so that employers can attract and retain top talent:
“An inclusive Pennsylvania is a more economically vibrant Pennsylvania. Promoting inclusion and eliminating discrimination fosters growth in Pennsylvania’s economy by ensuring that Pennsylvania can attract employees from across a highly skilled workforce and in particular, draw members of the innovative millennial workforce.”
Leading companies in Pennsylvania cheered on the introduction of the Pennsylvania Fairness Act, urging lawmakers to pass legislation ensuring businesses around the state can remain economically competitive. Peter Gudritz, senior manager for state government affairs, for The Dow Chemical Company said:
“Dow’s employees are our greatest asset. That is why inclusion is simply the right thing to do as both a matter of fairness and as a business imperative. Dow is committed to working with the public and private sectors in Pennsylvania to ensure the state remains welcoming and economically competitive. This is why we strongly support the Pennsylvania Fairness Act.”
Freedom for All Americans campaign manager Matt McTighe released this statement, calling on Pennsylvania to join the 17 other states that have already secured comprehensive non-discrimination protections for LGBT people:
“Today’s introduction of the Pennsylvania Fairness Act is a significant step forward for fairness and equality. All people should have the same opportunity to work hard, provide for themselves and their families, and live safely without fear of discrimination. This legislation would strengthen Pennsylvania’s communities and economy by showing that the state is serious about recruiting and sustaining only the most diverse businesses, talented employers, and vibrant workforce. It’s time to ensure that no Pennsylvanian is treated unfairly because of who they are or who they love.”
Polls show that 78% of Pennsylvania voters support statewide non-discrimination protections for gay and transgender people—but that a majority believe these protections already exist. As the only Northeastern state without a non-discrimination law, we’re hopeful that lawmakers will stand the people of Pennsylvania.
Find out more about the Pennsylvania Fairness Act and how you can take action to win non-discrimination protections by checking out Pennsylvania Competes—a bipartisan coalition dedicated to passing this critical legislation. Click here to sign Pennsylvania Competes’ pledge, and then click here to “like” the campaign on Facebook.