Pa. legislature introduces statewide LGBT nondiscrimination bills

Equality Forum 2013
The proposed legislation would broaden discrimination statutes to include gender identity, sexual expression and sexual orientation. Credit: Rikard Larma/Metro

A record number of state legislators announced at a news conference Tuesday their sponsorship of two bills protecting people from gender identity, sexual expression and sexual orientation-based discrimination in employment, housing, credit and public accommodations across the state of Pennsylvania.

The bipartisan companion bills – House Bill 300 and Senate Bill 300 – have a combined 102 sponsors, 77 in the state House of Representatives and 25 in the state Senate.

“Today was nothing short of historic and it is no surprise to me that the charge for equality across the Commonwealth finds some of its strongest voices in Philadelphia,” state Rep. Brian Sims (D-Phila.) said in a statement.

Sims is the first member of the Pennsylvania legislature elected as an openly gay candidate.

“This is more than just an exciting day for me personally, and as a legislator who represents the city in Pennsylvania that has its LGBT protections the longest, I can say comfortably that this is one of the most historic days for Pennsylvania LGBT civil rights,” Sims said.

“Today, we stand united with more legislators, and with more bipartisan support within the House and Senate, than at any time in Pennsylvania history.”

Executive director of Equality Pennsylvania Ted Martin announced at the press conference that a recent Susquehanna Polling and Research survey of 700 registered voters showed 72 percent support the proposed laws.

“Our laws today fall short of protecting all our citizens, and the stories I hear nearly every day from our members affirm the need for House Bill 300 and Senate Bill 300,” Martin said in a statement.

“These bills provide critical protections for gay and transgender Pennsylvanians. Currently, our state is the only one in the Northeast where gay and transgender citizens can be fired, denied a mortgage, or refused a hotel room simply because of who they are or who they love.”

A new major private sector supporter, the Pittsburgh-based UPMC health system, also announced on Tuesday their backing of the legislation, joining supporters Service Employees International Union and the AARP of Pennsylvania.

“It’s time the Commonwealth joined at least 20 other states and many major employers and municipalities in Pennsylvania and make it illegal to discriminate solely based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression,” lead Republican sponsor of S.B. 300 and Senate Majority Whip Pat Browne said in a statement.

State Rep. Larry Farnese (D–Phila.) is the lead Democrat sponsor of S.B. 300 and state Reps. Dan Frankel (D–Allegheny) and Chris Ross (R–Chester) are the lead sponsors of H.B. 300.

“It’s sickening to think that in Pennsylvania someone can be denied a place to live and a career because of who they love,” Farnese said in a statement.

“I’m proud to stand with this bipartisan coalition and work to pass Senate and House Bills 300, because they are not just long overdue for the good of the Commonwealth and our citizens, but they are the right things to pass because they will end housing and employment discrimination in our great state.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for…

By David DeKokHARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach"…

Local

Future Boston Alliance invites you to #RidetheLine, support…

#RidetheLine aims to show the city, the nation, and the globe our creative impact as Boston citizens.

Local

(Update) Body of missing BU grad Eric Munsell…

The dead man pulled from the water at Boston's Long Wharf Wednesday afternoon was that of missing 24-year-old Boston University alumnus Eric Munsell, Boston Police said today.

National

On newly released tape, 'Squeaky' Fromme says was…

Manson Family member Squeaky Fromme told a mental health examiner in newly released interview the "X" she carved in her forehead was meant to separate her from "the system."

Music

Championship of Collegiate a Cappella: Students who are…

Tickets to this Saturday’s International Championship of Collegiate a Cappella reportedly sold out within 11 hours of going on sale.

Music

M.I.A. talks 'Matangi,' divinity, spontaneity and holograms

"There’s pressure for me to become a theatrical production like 'Glee,' or something" says M.I.A., "It’s like, 'the pressure’s on, bitches.'"

Movies

Tribeca: 'Goodbye to All That' star Paul Schneider…

Paul Schneider talks about his new film "Goodbye to All That," not acting too much and how he'd rather indulge in simple pleasures than play the scene.

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

NHL

NHL video highlights: Bruins edge Red Wings in…

NHL video highlights: Bruins edge Red Wings in overtime of Game 4

MLB

MLB video highlights: Yankees rout Red Sox, 14-5

Felix Doubront struggles for second time in five starts

NBA

Jason Collins named to Time's 100 Most Influential…

Jason Collins was named to the list after coming out as the first openly gay player to appear in an NBA game.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.

Style

MAC & Proenza Schouler collection unveiled

MAC Cosmetics is releasing a new collection with Proenza Schouler.