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Equality Pennsylvania Applauds Bipartisan Introduction of Non-Discrimination Bill: Bill Boasts Widespread Public Support, According to Polls

Harrisburg – Today, a bipartisan group of Pennsylvania legislators introduced critical legislation to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people from discrimination. The bills would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression statewide in employment, housing, credit, and public accommodations.

A historic number of lawmakers have signed on as sponsors of the bill. H.B. 300 and S.B. 300 have a combined 100 sponsors — 77 in the House and 23 in the Senate, including seven House Republicans and two Senate Republicans.

“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 H.B. 300 and S.B. 300. 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. These bills provide critical protections for gay and transgender Pennsylvanians,” said Ted Martin, executive director of Equality Pennsylvania.

A recent poll showed the bills have 72 percent support statewide, consistent with Pennsylvania polling results on the issue over the past decade. The poll was conducted by Susquehanna Polling and Research, a firm with many Republican and business clients. Regional results of the poll are available at http://is.gd/hb300poll.

In addition to overwhelming public support, a strong coalition has formed to advance the bills, including Equality Pennsylvania, the commonwealth’s leading advocacy organization for LGBT Pennsylvanians, as well as SEIU and AARP of Pennsylvania.

A major private-sector supporter, the Pittsburgh-based UPMC health system, has also endorsed the bills. One of the largest employers in the region and statewide, support from the UPMC demonstrates their commitment to diversity and inclusion. Although nearly all of the state’s largest companies have enacted policies that protect and support LGBT workers, none have publicly advocated for statewide legislation — until this month’s strong endorsement from the UPMC.

“This legislation is good for Pennsylvania. It has broad-based, widespread support. It facilitates the development of a strong economy. It affirms our core values of fairness, liberty, and equality. And it’s long overdue,” said Martin.

Sponsors of the House bill include: Reps. Frankel, Ross, Bishop, Bizzarro, B. Boyle, K. Boyle, Bradford, Briggs, R. Brown, V. Brown, Brownlee, Caltagirone, Carroll, Clay, Cohen, D. Costa, P. Costa, Cruz, M. Daley, P. Daley, Davis, Dean, DeLissio, DeLuca, Dermody, Donatucci, D. Evans, Fabrizio, Farina, Fleck, Flynn, Freeman, Gainey, Galloway, Gergely, Harkins, J. Harris, Kavulich, W. Keller, Kim, Kinsey, Kirkland, Mahoney, Markosek, McCarter, McGeehan, McNeill, Miranda, Molchany, Mullery, Mundy, Murt, Neilson, Neuman, O’Brien, Painter, Parker, Pashinski, Peifer, Ravenstahl, Readshaw, Roebuck, Rozzi, Sabatina, Samuelson, Santarsiero, Scavello, Schlossberg, Sims, Snyder, Sturla, Taylor, Thomas, Vitali, Waters, Wheatley and Youngblood.

Sponsors of the Senate bill include: Sens. Farnese, Browne, Ferlo, Washington, Stack, Teplitz, Fontana, Costa, Smith, Blake, Schwank, Williams, Wozniak, Hughes, Leach, Tartaglione, Dinniman, Kitchen, Wiley, Boscola, Yudichak, McIlhinney and Brewster.

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