It's legal to fire people in Pennsylvania because they're gay. It's time for that to end.
Many Pennsylvanians mistakenly think it's already illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation. They're wrong. Only 15 municipalities in the commonwealth have anti-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation-leaving almost 75% of LGBT Pennsylvanians without protection from discrimination.
House Bill 300 would end discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in Pennsylvania. It would amend the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, the commonwealth's civil rights law, to include "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression" as protected classes. Find out what you can do to support HB 300 and end legal discrimination in Pennsylvania.
Currently, the PHRA protects people from discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, ancestry, national origin, gender, age, disability, and the use of a guide dog. Amending the law to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression would provide basic protection to ensure fairness for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Pennsylvanians.
Many states have already amended their state civil rights laws to protect against this kind of discrimination. Twenty states have laws protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual people from discrimination. Thirteen states also prohibit discrimination against transgender people through legislation or case law. On March 9, the Senate Judiciary Committee in West Virginia passed a bill like HB 300. In February, the Senate of North Dakota passed similar legislation.
HB 300 is essential for Pennsylvania to remain economically competitive with other states.
Unfortunately, opponents to HB 300 have been using scare tactics about religion and the PHRA. But here are the facts: Religious institutions are exempt from state civil rights laws in hiring those who teach the tenets of the faith, e.g. ministers, teachers, etc. This exception is well established in both federal and state case law. There is also religious exemption language written into the PHRA.
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, the agency that enforces the PHRA, strongly supports this legislation. Please vote "yes" on HB 300.