Corbett’s 180 on Anti-Discrimination

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If you haven’t heard by now, Pennsylvania’s Republic Governor, Tom Corbett, declared on Wednesday his support for anti-LGBTQ discrimination legislation for the Commonwealth.

 

Corbett said he decided to support the bills after recently learning federal laws do not protect Pennsylvania’s LGBTQ community from discrimination.

 

“In the last few months in discussions it was made clear to me the federal law did not cover them,” said Corbett, a lawyer by trade who is up for re-election amid dismal approval ratings.

 

The legislation Corbett now supports are House and Senate Bills 300 which ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression statewide in employment, housing, credit and public accommodations.

 

When introducing the bill in May 2013, Rep. Brian Sims (D-Phila) said, “Pennsylvania’s citizens, its businesses, and now its elected leaders are demanding these most basic protections and I am honored to be a part of such historic leadership.”

 

Has that leadership now been passed onto Corbett? 

 

He states that he will sign the bill if it crosses his desk, but what are the serious chances of it passing his desk? . . . Corbett knows it is slim, especially with arch-conservative Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) chairing the committee where the bill sits in the House and he is vowing to block it.

 

Metcalfe believes that the bills are “anti-Christian.”

 

“Only someone ignorant of the policy would they actually support it unless they are homosexual activists or supporters of the homosexual agenda, which I don’t think the governor is,” Metcalfe said.

 

“It’s another shift to the left by the governor and I think it’s politically motivated,” added Metcalfe.

 

The question is whether or not Corbett is embracing the hard work of organizations like Equality PA, and others, who have been lobbying the Governor’s office on this issue, and he truly understands that discrimination against the LGBTQ community is wrong or it is a political ploy to bolster his numbers that are at a historical low going into an election year.

 

For me and many others it doesn’t matter.  While the Governor’s support for 300 is not a “slam dunk,” according to Sims, it is a green light to other republicans in the state to support 300 as well.

 

“Now the governor supports it. A majority of Pennsylvanians support it, certainly a majority of the Democrats in Pennsylvania support it and a handful of Republicans, and I hope that can grow now as we’re seeing from the top down in the Republican Party in Pennsylvania, but that you can be supportive of LGBT civil rights and still be a card carrying party Republican,” said Sims.

 

Let us hope that House and Senate Bills 300 gains traction and the Keystone State will finally protect her LGBTQ citizens from unjust discrimination.

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