The Lead

‘Shameful’ and ‘dangerous’: Pa.’s LGBTQ+ Caucus calls for swift action on anti-discrimination bill following Chambersburg vote

By: - January 25, 2022 5:04 pm

A decision by a Franklin County municipality to rollback a local LGBTQ nondiscrimination ordinance has drawn criticism from state lawmakers on the General Assembly’s LGBTQ+ Caucus.

On Monday, Chambersburg Borough Council voted 7-3 to repeal an anti-discrimination ordinance enacted just four months ago, PennLive reported. 

Calling the decision ”shameful” and “dangerous,” state LGBTQ+ Caucus leaders, which include, state Reps. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, Brian Sims, D-Philadelphia, and Sen. Katie Muth, D-Montgomery, expressed concern over the repercussions of revoking the ordinance, writing in a Tuesday statement that its repeal  leaves “LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanians in an extremely vulnerable position.”

A family with two moms that stops for dinner on a road trip through Chambersburg can now be refused service at a restaurant. A trans man’s rental application for a new apartment can be denied for no other reason than that his gender does not match the sex he was assigned at birth,” the statement reads. “While many localities have made headway in enacting local ordinances to prohibit discrimination, 65% of Pennsylvania’s population still lives in a municipality with no protections. Pennsylvanians know that legal discrimination is immoral and that it harms this commonwealth economically.”

A November 2021 report from the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute concluded that “Pennsylvania’s legal landscape puts LGBT residents at risk of discrimination and harassment. The social, economic, and health effects of stigma and discrimination against LGBT people negatively impact the state’s economy by tens of millions of dollars each year.”

Study: Pa. ranks 24th nationwide for acceptance of LGBTQ people

The same report found that 75 percent of Pennsylvania residents support nondiscrimination policies, despite the commonwealth’s lack of statewide protective measures. 

In June 2021, Frankel introduced HB 300, to extend statewide antidiscrimination protections to individuals on the basis of “sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.”

Despite widespread support, HB 300, which is currently in the House State Government Committee, has yet to see a vote. 

In its statement Tuesday, the LGBTQ+ Caucus called on leaders of the Republican-controlled General Assembly to take up Frankel’s bill. 

“Since 2001, Democrats have introduced comprehensive legislation that would prohibit discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Like previous versions, House Bill 300 currently sits in the House State Government Committee where it has not received a vote, let alone a hearing,” the statement read. “We are once again asking for Republican leadership to allow H.B. 300 to receive a vote, so finally someone’s civil rights are not decided by their ZIP code.”

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.