Daryl Metcalfe Blocks Pivotal LGBT Anti-Discrimination Bill

The Commonwealth’s most vehement gay rights opponent says he won’t send House Bill 300 to the floor for a vote. So is this the end of HB 300?

Earlier this week I posted a letter written by Philadelphia State Rep. Mark Cohen in which he pleads to House Majority Leader Daryl Metcalfe to send HB 300, legislation that would ban LGBT discrimination in the workplace and public accommodations, to the House floor for a vote. It’s widely assumed that the bill would pass with near flying colors, considering it has the record-breaking backing of 90 co-sponsors from both sides of the political tracks. But it looks like the bill won’t see the light of day. Metcalfe released a statement that he is blocking the bill from moving forward. NewsWorks’ Mary Wilson reports

The measure was referred to the State Government Committee, which is made up of 15 Republicans and 10 Democrats, and its ranking Democrat has prodded the chairman for a hearing. But Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler, said he believes the majority of his panel opposes the bill. “It’s interesting that when they’re in the majority, they’re not able to pass their priorities,” he said. “But when they’re in the minority, they want us to pass them for them.”

I called up Rep. Cohen — a member of the Pennsylvania LGBT Equality Caucus — to get his response:  ”I can’t say I’m surprised. My hope is that we continue to find ways to create a public dialogue with Metcalfe and other members of House Republican Caucus. It’s an important issue, and the reason it’s taking Pennsylvania so long [to pass other LGBT equality laws]. It’s incredible the House and Senate have not followed the lead of Philadelphia, who passed legislation like this in 1982. … And it’s especially ridiculous, since the public approves it overwhelmingly.”

Is there still hope of getting it passed? I asked:

“There are many ways legislation can come before the House and Senate. I intend to explore [them]. I certainly don’t think there’s any belief among the advocates that Metcalfe’s views are determinant of what’s going to happen.”

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