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
News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

National

Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

NBA

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.

NFL

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.