Pennsylvania Gays Rock the Dome

Hundreds of LGBT Pennsylvanians gathered Tuesday at the state capitol to demand passage of a bill that would bar discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, and accommodations.

BY Daniel Denvir

March 16 2009 11:00 PM ET

PENNSYLVANIA RALLY 200903 01 X555 (DANIEL DENVIR) | ADVOCATE.COM

Hundreds of LGBT
Pennsylvanians and allies gathered Tuesday at the state capitol
to demand passage of a bill that would bar discrimination based
on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment,
housing, and accommodations.

The Value All Families
Coalition sponsored the rally, held in the Harrisburg capitol
rotunda. Rep. Babette Josephs, chair of the house state
government committee and a longtime gay rights supporter,
delivered an impassioned speech in support of the
legislation.

"I bet 10% of my
colleagues in the house don't think they have a single gay
constituent," she said. "Over the next few weeks,
we're going to show them just how wrong they are."

Josephs also said that
given the economic crisis, "the last thing anyone needs is
to get fired for being gay."

Josephs's committee
approved the bill 12-11 in a party-line vote, with all
Republicans opposing the measure. Next, it faces a tough but
winnable fight in the house. While Democrats have a small
majority, many come from socially conservative parts of the
state. The bill's prospects are not good in the
Republican-controlled senate, but Democratic governor Ed
Rendell would likely sign the legislation if passed.

Supporters, including
religious leaders, union activists, and politicians, described
the bill as a guarantee of basic human rights for all
Pennsylvanians and an important message of tolerance to
potential residents and investors.

Tags: Politics

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