Mayor Jim Kenney signed a pledge this month with 21 other Pennsylvania mayors to call on legislators to pass the Pennsylvania Fairness Act, which would protect LGBT people from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation.
“It is critical that we welcome and protect anyone who wants to work hard and make a living in Philadelphia, whether that is working for a major corporation like Comcast or starting a bakery in South Philly,” Kenney told Pennsylvania Competes, the bipartisan group working to pass the Fairness Act.
He added Philadelphia protects LGBT people from discrimination in its Fair Practices Ordinance, and they should enjoy the same protections in the rest of the state. Thirty-four municipalities in Pennsylvania have enacted local antidiscrimination laws that include LGBT people, said Sam Gehler, field director for Pennsylvania Competes and organizing director for Equality Pennsylvania.
“Being able to attract smart LGBT people who are also well-qualified for many jobs can help make their cities economic drivers in the state,” Gehler said. “It also helps make their city a decent place to live and work.”
Pennsylvania Competes said the mayors who support the Fairness Act come from across the state, including urban, rural, Republican and Democratic communities.
Mayors from many of Philadelphia’s suburbs have signed on. From Bucks County, they include Laurence D. Keller of New Hope and Ron Strouse of Doylestown. From Chester County: Carolyn Comitta of West Chester, Josh Maxwell of Downingtown and Michael J. Speck of Phoenixville. From Delaware County: Anthony Campuzano of Lansdowne. From Montgomery County: Ed Foley of Jenkintown and Jeanne Sorg of Ambler.
“This is the beginning of the mayor’s coalition,” Gehler said, noting three other mayors have contacted Pennsylvania Competes and more are expected.