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 17 2009 12:00 AM ET

1 PIXEL GIF | ADVOCATE.COM

PENNSYLVANIA RALLY 200903 02 X555 (DANIEL DENVIR) | ADVOCATE.COM

The bill was
reintroduced by Rep. Dan Frankel, who brought similar
legislation to the house in 2007. Frankel says the bill now
stands a better chance of passing because "a lot has
happened in Pennsylvania politics. We've gone from a
red-leaning state to a battleground state to a blue-leaning
state." Frankel said the shift is in part due to the
increasingly right-wing positions of the state Republican
Party, which has alienated some moderate supporters.

This year the bill has
79 cosponsors, nine more than the last time around, including
five Republicans.

Lost in the crush of
media attention over same-sex marriage is the fact that,
according to the American Civil Liberties Union, only 20 states
protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation or
gender identity. Although a number of Pennsylvania
municipalities already have such ordinances on the books,
"nearly 80% of the state's 12 million residents live or
work in communities that do not provide these
protections," according to Equality Advocates
Pennsylvania.

Harrisburg city
councilman Daniel Miller, the city's first openly gay
council member, says that he decided to run for office
"because George Bush was president and Rick Santorum was
our senator." But Miller was also motivated to run because
of his firsthand experience facing discrimination.

Miller worked as an
accountant for a company for five years only to be fired when
his boss found out he was gay. He says that it took him years
to recover economically and emotionally, and that
antidiscrimination legislation will ensure that no other young
LGBT person will have to go through a similar
experience. "It's basic civil rights. So many people
are afraid to be out on the job. It impacts how you
live."

Tags: Politics

AddThis

READER COMMENTS ()

Quantcast