State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Advocates eye bills to ban anti-LGBT bias

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | May 23, 2014 4:17 PM
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Gay rights advocates are hoping the recent federal court ruling allowing same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania results in some momentum to bring about a statewide anti-discrimination law.

Recognition of same-sex marriages marked a big win for gay rights advocates. But Equality PA director Ted Martin said it's not the be-all and end-all for his organization's cause. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Pennsylvanians are vulnerable to bias when looking for housing, finding work, and seeking public accommodations.

"There are some people who want to get married, and they should have that right -- and now they have that right -- but everyone wants to be protected from random discrimination," Martin said during an interview on WITF's Smart Talk Friday.

"In most of the state you can get married and then be fired for putting your wedding picture out on your desk," Martin said. "In over 70 percent of the state, there's no protection against discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on sexual orientation or gender identity."

34 municipalities have passed local ordinances prohibiting such bias, Martin said. Two identical bills in the state House and Senate would create a statewide ban. Both measures have stalled in committee for nearly a year, despite bipartisan backing, including from Governor Corbett.

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