City Council Bill Seeks to Make Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs a Permanent Thing

blondell reynods brown

Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown.

This afternoon Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown introduced a bill in City Council that would make permanent the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs. The move is co-sponsored by all Councilmembers.

“Philadelphia has an international reputation as a City that both celebrates diversity and has no tolerance for intolerance.  This bill offers the LGBT community a permanent seat and voice at the table,” Reynolds Brown said in a press release sent out this afternoon. “To a community who too often faces discrimination, it is imperative for them to have a direct line to the Mayor and City Council. Making this office permanent sends a continued message that, while we have more work to do, we are absolutely up to the challenge.”

Passage of the bill requires an amendment to the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter that must be passed by City Council, signed by the Mayor and then approved by voters. It will appear on the ballot in the November general election as:

“Shall The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to establish and define the functions of the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Affairs, headed by a Director of LGBT Affairs?”

Helen Fitzpatrick, current director of the Mayor's Office of LGBT Affairs.

Helen Fitzpatrick, current director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs.

Helen Fitzpatrick, who replaced Gloria Casarez as the current director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs spoke up about the City Council move, saying “Today’s bill is an opportunity for Philadelphia to continue to lead the nation toward equality for all. The bill represents far more than a change to the charter.  It symbolizes our ongoing commitment as a City, and as a society, to the equal and fair treatment of our LGBT citizens.”

Mayor Nutter’s on board, too, naturally: “Making this Office permanent under the City of Philadelphia charter ensures that the LGBT community will continue to be represented in City government, and that the good work done to advance LGBT issues over the last seven years will carry on well into the future.”