Court gavel on rainbow flag colored pages of the United States Constitution

Bicameral group of lawmakers vow to fight proposed bills

HARRISBURG, September 5, 2019 – As the Pennsylvania House and Senate prepare to return to session this fall, a bicameral group of lawmakers has vowed to fight anti-LGBTQ legislation that is being prepared by some House members.

The proposed legislation in question would block the state Transportation Department from issuing gender-neutral licenses and would prohibit gender-confirmation surgery or the administration of hormone therapy to state prison inmates. Members of the caucus have expressed their concern that the legislation would insert legislative politics into highly personal decisions, and could not just undermine individuals’ rights, but also endanger the physical safety of LGBTQ individuals in Pennsylvania.

“I will fight any effort to roll back even an inch of the progress for which the LGBTQ community and their allies have worked,” said state Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny and co-chair of the LGBTQ Equality Caucus. “As representatives of the many residents who will benefit from this simple PennDOT adjustment, along with many more who support civil protections for our LGBTQ family, friends and neighbors, we have a moral imperative to stand against erasure of these Pennsylvanians’ personhood. From doctor’s offices to the DMV, we respect people by honoring their identities.”

“It is despicable that members of the General Assembly are actively discriminating against citizens of this commonwealth. Members of the LGBTQ community must be treated with dignity and the way that they express themselves should be fully respected,” said state Sen. Larry Farnese, D-Phila., and co-chair of the LGBTQ Equality Caucus. “These proposed bills are remnants of a dark past that seek to enshrine discrimination and further marginalize citizens of this commonwealth. The bills are discriminatory, and I will stand firmly against any anti-LGBTQ legislation in Pennsylvania.”

While this marks the latest in a long history of attacks on LGBTQ rights, members of the caucus said they were confident that this latest anti-LGBTQ legislation would be defeated.

“While this is disheartening, I am not surprised that the most gerrymandered state in the country is again attacking its own citizens. Our Republican leadership has consistently shown a refusal to recognize science and medicine and this is no different,” said state Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., and the first out LGBT member of the legislature. “I am emboldened by the fact that Pa. citizens overwhelmingly support LGBTQ rights and their LGBTQ neighbors. We’ve defeated these types of attacks in the past and we will defeat these as well.”

Earlier this year members of the LGBTQ Equality Caucus stood together to introduce the bipartisan PA Fairness Act, which would update the state’s non-discrimination law to explicitly include protections for LGBTQ people from discrimination at work, in housing and in public places.