Snorebett Corbett shocked our pants off today when he came out in support of H.B. 300, a long sought-after bill that will once and for all protect Pennsylvania LGBTers from things like getting fired or getting kicked out of a place of business just for being gay.
The Inquirer reports that he came to the decision after realizing that federal non-discrimination laws do not apply in Pennsylvania: “I’ve had people come and talk to me about how they were discriminated against. … The federal government has anti-discrimination laws. I believed they covered it.”
Not surprisingly, Corbett's support has generated excitement from Philly Democrats who have long been in support of the bill. I chatted with City Councilman Jim Kenney, the man who got Philly's LGBT Equality Bill passed this spring. He told me that he, "Applauds Corbett for his stance," and that "hopefully his position will move some Republican votes in the right direction." His qualm is that Pennsylvania's lack of civil rights for LGBT people is forcing citizens to leave PA for any of the surrounding states that have made movements to protect its gay population. "I want to keep folks here. The way you keep them here is treating them equally and fairly and giving them civil rights."
I also chatted with Brian Sims, who called the news "terrific." "What we learned from Pat Toomey, [who, last month, voted to advance ENDA in the U.S. Senate], is that Republicans can find it in their ideology to support LGBT civil rights." With Toomey and Corbett on the right side, he says, "We now have the top Republicans in the state in support of H.B. 300. If they can, a lot of Republicans in State House and Senate can, too."
There are still major hurdles to getting it passed, he warns, namely a certain chairman named Daryl Metcalfe, who blocked the bill from going to the floor for a vote in August.
"I reiterate the call on Metcalfe to give H.B. 300 hearings and a vote in the State Government Committee where the legislation has languished since its introduction," he said in a press release issued later this afternoon. "Millions of Pennsylvania LGBT citizens deserve as much when it comes to their right to freedom from fear of discrimination."
Before we hung up, he chimed in to say that his praise for Corbett's support of H.B. 300 should in no way be seen as an endorsement for the governor's re-election campaign next year.