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Senate Committee Votes On Discrimination Protections, Important Step Forward for the LGBT Community

Equality PA Applauds the Senate Housing Committee Vote and Thanks Sen. Wagner and Sen. Browne for Moving Nondiscrimination Legislation Forward

Harrisburg – Today the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing committee passed a bill that would update the Human Relations Act to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from discrimination in housing and employment.

Ted Martin, Executive Director of Equality PA, reacted saying, “Today hundreds of LGBT people and their allies called on the legislature to take action on this important issue, and we are glad that they finally did. This vote is a very important step forward and we applaud the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing committee. We also thank Senator Wagner and Senator Browne for moving nondiscrimination legislation forward.”

Martin continued, “Most Pennsylvanians are shocked to learn that LGBT people are not protected from discrimination in housing, employment or public accommodation in the commonwealth or at the federal level. More than 70% of Pennsylvanians agree that all people, including LGBT people, should be protected from discrimination so that they can build a life for themselves and their families. That’s why today’s vote to protect LGBT people from discrimination in housing and employment is an important step forward. However, Equality PA is committed to protecting LGBT people from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodation. In the same way that all Pennsylvanians are protected from discrimination due to race, gender, religion, and disability, people should not be discriminated against due to sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. We will continue to fight for comprehensive discrimination protections in the coming days and weeks as this bill and others move through the legislature.”

The nondiscrimination bill, S.B. 1307, will now move to the Senate floor for a vote. Sen. Pat Browne also introduced S.B. 1316 that updates the Human Relations Act to protect LGBT people from discrimination in public accommodation. S.B. 1316 awaits action in the Senate State Government Committee. In the House, The PA Fairness Act, H.B. 1510, would protect LGBT people from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodation also awaits action in the State Government committee. Recently, Rep. Frankel and Rep. Sims in the House have filed a discharge petition to free-up the bill and bring it directly to the floor for a vote.

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With 60,000 members across the commonwealth, Equality Pennsylvania is the leading organization advancing equality and opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Pennsylvanians.

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