Bethlehem Debates Discrimination

Discussion heats up in the PA town over LGBT rights

This week the City Council in Bethlehem, Pa., invited gay rights groups and community members to discuss a new ordinance that would protect LGBT people from discrimination. But not everyone in the small town is thrilled about legislating gay rights protection, according to WFMZ-TV in Allentown.

One of the most vocal opponents of the bill, which would guarantee protection in housing and employment, is the American Family Association, a conservative group that champions against LGBT rights nationally.

“There is a foot in the door for homosexual activists to demand that everyone celebrate their lifestyle,” says a spokesperson for the organization.

But Stephen Glassman, the chairperson for the Human Relations Committee, says, “There are 20 jurisdictions in the State which have already passed these laws, inclusive of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, and the sky hasn’t fallen in any of those jurisdictions.”

Nearby Allentown already passed legislation to provide benefits to same-sex partners of city employees with little objection.

The Bethlehem bill is expected to be discussed again in June as Mayor John Callahan moves the proposal forward.