EQUALITY PENNSYLVANIA QUICK FACTS
Our central goal is to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Pennsylvanians through education and policy and legislative reform. More than a decade ago, Equality Pennsylvania was a volunteer-based organization.
Today, we have full-time and part-time staff, more than a dozen policy interns each year, and many, many dedicated volunteers.
- Did you know that in most parts of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania it is perfectly legal to be fired on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression?
- In only 17 of the state’s nearly 2,500 municipalities are anti-discrimination laws in effect to protect LGBT Pennsylvanians
- Further, there is currently no legal recourse for LGBT employees who are sexually harassed at work because of their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression in most of the state.
- And of course, it is still illegal for same-sex couples in Pennsylvania to marry, denying them the state benefits of marriage
Since our founding, Equality Pennsylvania has worked to provide support and leadership to LGBT citizens living throughout the Commonwealth. Our educational and outreach activities have reached thousands of people, and we are working to change the LGBT civil rights landscape of Pennsylvania.
These are some landmarks in our history:
- 1996- Organization founded and staffed with one attorney working out of his home
- 1997- Began offering direct legal services and launched the Family Rights Project
- 2000- Established the Legal Clinic to provide services across the state
- 2002- Expanded LGBT Family Rights and helped secure same-sex second parent adoption rights across Pennsylvania
- 2005- Launched Employment Rights Project that focused solely on providing legal services to LGBT employees who have been victims of discrimination
- 2006- Defeated constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and led LGBT and allied coalitions in the massive grassroots effort that prevented anti-family and anti-LGBT legislators from writing discrimination into the state constitution
- 2007- Introduced state non-discrimination legislation that would protect LGBT people from discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations
- 2008- Again defeated a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage; launched the Student Network Across Pennsylvania (SNAP), a coalition that facilitates greater communication and collaboration among Pennsylvania's LGBT students and collegiate organizations
- 2009- Reorganized with new board and mission; formed Equality Pennsylvania to specifically advance LGBT-friendly policy and legislative initiatives
- 2010 - Again defeated a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage
- 2010- Attended almost every PRIDE festival, started working closely with allied organizations both in state and nationally and after a national search, hired Ted Martin to be our new executive director
- 2010 – Opened Harrisburg office.
- 2010 – Played central role in reaching breakthrough agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to allow transgender citizens of Pennsylvania to change the designated gender on their driver’s license when they are living full-time in their new gender and it can be verified by a licensed medical or psychological caregiver