LOCAL NEWS: Faith Leaders Are Advocating for Pennsylvania Fairness Act

Plus: Mayor Kenney is a new member of Mayors Against Discrimination.


Faith leaders and congregations have joined Equality Pennsylvania in pushing state legislators to pass the Pennsylvania Fairness Act.

Last weekend, 18 Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Jewish and Episcopalian congregations joined forces with Equality Pennsylvania to push elected officials in Harrisburg to pass the Pennsylvania Fairness Act. The act, currently known as HB 1510 and SB 974, would add protections for gender identity/expression and sexual orientation to Pennsylvania’s existing Human Relations Act,, which was passed in 1955.

“The Fairness Act is a commonsense measure that would protect LGBT Pennsylvanians and their families,” said Ted Martin, executive director of Equality PA. “Seventy percent of Pennsylvanians support this bill, and that includes people of faith. … The strong show of support from congregations across the Commonwealth should be a wake-up call to the legislature that it’s time LGBT Pennsylvanians be treated fairly.”

April has already seen some legislative progress for LGBTQ members in the state, with Gov. Tom Wolf signing an executive order that prohibits discrimination by state contractors against LGBT Pennsylvanians.

Mayor Jim Kenney joins the Mayors Against Discrimination coalition to take a stand against recent anti-gay legislation.

Jim Kenney is now one of 11 mayors who have joined the coalition Mayors Against Discrimination, whose members share an interest “in barring official travel to states with discriminatory laws such as those enacted in North Carolina and, most recently, Mississippi.”

“We’re not giving money to people who discriminate against other people,” Kenney said at a recent press conference. “We’re not doing business with companies or states or cities that discriminate against other people.” Outside of plans to bar official travel, the coalition, which also includes mayors from New York City, San Francisco, and D.C., plan to prohibit contracting and purchasing from businesses in states that house discriminatory legislation.