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Philadelphia Community Leaders Continue the Celebration after Supreme Court Decision, Talk about Next Steps for LGBT Equality

Leaders gathered at Love Park for a Rally with hundreds of members of the LGBT community and allies

PhiladelphiaDays after the Supreme Court ruled that all couples in the United States will now have the freedom to marry, community leaders from Philadelphia gathered to continue the celebration and talk about other issues beyond marriage faced by LGBT people in Pennsylvania.

Harvey Hurdle, Board member for Equality PA, kicked off the celebration saying, “This is a great week for LGBT Americans and we should keep the celebration going. However, the victory is bittersweet here in Pennsylvania because, as most Pennsylvanians are shocked to learn, it is still legal to fired from your job, turned away from a business, or evicted from an apartment just because of who you are or who you love.”

Francisco Vivala-Cortez, Youth Coordinator, GALAEI, explained, “We have won a battle but we have not won the war. Let us use this success to flame the fuel for other issues that affect queer Latin@s like immigration, discrimination, housing, employment, and trans* justice.”

Chris Bartlett, Executive Director of William Way LGBT Community Center, cheered on the crowd saying, “Our success at the Supreme Court Friday builds upon decades of hard work by the LGBT community and our allies.  Today we celebrate– and recommit to the hard work in front of us:  to fight discrimination, to insure trans equity, and to insure safe schools for LGBT students.”

Rue Landau, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, talked about the state of affairs of the civil rights of LGBT people in Philadelphia, saying, “In Philadelphia, we have had laws protecting people based on sexual orientation and gender identity for decades. This is the city where 50 years ago, the first national protest for gay rights occurred. The steps Philadelphia lawmakers have taken to protect all people have made us a safer, healthier and stronger community. In the wake of this momentous court decision, Pennsylvania and all other states need to finish the work. It’s time to enact a nondiscrimination law, once and for all.”

Rep. Brian Sims commented on the event from Harrisburg saying, “While the Supreme Court has made a strong statement in support of equality, LGBT Americans here in Pennsylvania and across the country remain unprotected from the most basic forms of discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. We need not only a statewide nondiscrimination bill, but federal laws which protect all Americans from such discrimination.”

Sims added, “I have long said that equality is not and cannot be a one-party issue. I am very thankful that Representatives and Senators from both sides of the aisle in the State Legislature understand that nondiscrimination is a priority, and we are closer than ever to getting this bill across the finish line.”

Hundreds gathered to celebrate and share their joy in knowing that thousands of couples and families will be able to have the peace of mind that comes with the protections of marriage. At the celebration many signed a postcard to members of the PA State Legislature calling on them to update Pennsylvania’s discrimination laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

The Supreme Court decision comes at a time when Philadelphians are celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Annual Reminder, the first gathering of LGBT activists calling for basic civil rights at the Liberty Bell on July 4, 1965.

 

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