Earlier this month, Philadelphia Councilman Jim Kenney announced his sweeping LGBT Equality Bill that would do all kinds of mind-blowing things for Philly’s LGBTQ community — from offering local businesses a tax credit for providing employees same-sex health-care benefits to guaranteeing spouse-equivalent treatment in hospitals. And then, of course, who could forget the widely reported on measure that would require all new City construction to provide a single-use (key word, here!) gender-neutral bathroom option.
If passed, the bill would be a ground-breaking move for Philadelphia, making it the first city in the country to provide such protections for its LGBTQ community. The hope is that it would inspire other cities to follow suit, but we have to get it passed first — and that all depends on what happens tomorrow when City Council takes up the bill for a final vote.
To get a feel for the bill’s chances, I reached out to Kenney’s Legislative Aide Chris Goy with a few questions:
Is Kenney hopeful of its chances of passing?
We’re very optimistic of it’s chances of passing. If the bill’s unanimous bi-partisan support of the Labor & Civil Service Committee on April 11 … and an endorsement of the Equality Tax Credits by the Chamber of Commerce [is any indication], tomorrow will mark a major leap forward for Philadelphia’s reputation as one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in the U.S.
If passed, what will happen next?
- The LGBT Equality Healthcare Tax Credit, which incentivizes willing employers to switch to plans that provide full and equal care to life partners and/or transgender employees, will go into effect by or before the passage of next year’s budget.
- The bill’s move to end healthcare discrimination for its transgender City employees will be implemented no later than Jan. 1, 2014.
- LGBT & Life Partner-friendly city forms will be phased in as websites are updated and new printed materials are ordered City-wide
- All other provisions of the bill will go into effect immediately.
But like any bill up for a big vote, says Goy, “large amounts of supporters will make this big vote much easier for every member of Council to make.” Team Kenney is urging supporters to come to City Hall wearing red tomorrow during the proceedings, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Room 400. Stay tuned to G Philly for updates!
UPDATED [12:49 p.m., 4/26/2013]: City Council votes to pass Kenney’s LGBT Equality bill. Click here to read the Councilman’s post-vote firstname.lastname@example.org.