City Council Votes to Make Permanent the Office of LGBT Affairs

helen fitzpatrick

Director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs Helen FItzpatrick at this week’s IBA LGBT Business Leaders Luncheon. | Photo courtesy of JPG Photography

This afternoon, Philadelphia City Council passed a bill to make permanent the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs, which is currently headed by Director Helen Fitzpatrick.

But the move isn’t completely official yet. In order to pass, the bill requires a change to the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter, which must be signed by the  Mayor and voted on by the public in the November general election. The ballot measure will read:

“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?”

So remember to check “Yes.”

Blondell Reynolds Brown, the councilwoman who introduced the bill said that today’s vote further propels Philly as a city that is first when it comes establishing LGBT equality for its citizens. “This bill offers the LGBT community a permanent seat and voice at the table. … 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.”

“I am extremely proud of the bill that passed today … and grateful for [Councilwoman Reynolds Brown’s] continued dedication to making Philadelphia a city that values and protects all of its citizens,” said Fitzpatrick in a release sent out today. “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.”