The Pennsylvania legislature’s growing LGBT Equality Caucus has unveiled a new poll as members call for legislation to protect members of the community. The membership in the caucus has doubled and is bicameral and bipartisan.
Representative Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny) says the growth of the caucus represents the changing will and mood of the people of Pennsylvania when it comes to simple fairness for LGBT people.
The poll conducted for Equality Pennsylvania finds 62% of the state’s residents believes gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens should be entitled to the same civil rights and protections as other minority groups. 69% agree that LGBT workers should be protected from being fired. 73% agree that it should be illegal to refuse service to someone based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. The poll was conducted by CivicScience of Pittsburgh.
State Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) says Pennsylvania does not have laws to offer those protections. He says we don’t even have anti-discrimination legislation that has been passed. He says the hate crimes bill was struck down on technical grounds and not replaced.
Bills being reintroduced in this session would ban discrimination in employment, housing, credit and public accommodations.
Representative Brian Sims (D-Phila), the first openly gay person elected to the legislature, says he’s seeing signs that more colleagues in the state Capitol are finally beginning to recognize that common sense protections are long overdue.
Representative Mark Painter (D-Mont), whose wife is a Methodist pastor, says he believes firmly that discrimination, bullying and hatred are not Christian values.