This is proving to be a day of good news and I want to share it with you.
This year, as I have done over the past four legislative sessions, I have proposed language that would end discrimination against Pennsylvanians on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
As I mentioned, this is the fourth time I have had to propose language that would change state law to protect the LGBT community from losing their jobs or being denied services simply because of who they are or who they love.
It’s sad that we need to make sure this protection exists. It’s just as disappointing that it has required so much work to bring about a change that we all know is right and long overdue. That is why today is the first step in ending legal discrimination in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
And I am more hopeful now than I have been during my previous attempts to change the 60-year old Human Relations Act to make sure we better relate as humans, as neighbors, and as friends.
This is a good day because the proposal to amend the law through the Pennsylvania Fairness Act has been joined by Republicans and Democrats in both chambers of the General Assembly. In the past I have sponsored this legislation alone, as the primary Senate Democrat. But this year my Republican colleague, Senate Appropriations Chairman Pat Browne, has joined me in sponsoring Senate Bill 974, while Allegheny County Democratic Rep. Dan Frankel and Republican Delaware County Rep. Tom Killion have put forward their version of the same proposal under House Bill 1510.
Not only are lawmakers from both political parties supportive of these long-awaited protections for LGBT Pennsylvanians, but more people than ever believe that we need to send this change in state law to Gov. Tom Wolf for his signature.
An overwhelming majority of Philadelphians know someone who is gay or lesbian, and an overwhelming majority of Pennsylvanians support the Pennsylvania Fairness Act to protect gay and transgender people from discrimination.
This is about treating others as we want to be treated.
Even though we may have different beliefs, what’s most important is focusing on what we have in common: taking pride in our work, respecting co-workers, serving customers, and getting the job done.
I hope this news puts a smile on your face and emboldens you with the hope of a better day in Philadelphia and in the Commonwealth.
My best to you,
Sen. Larry Farnese
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