In a unanimous vote April 30, Philadelphia City Council approved a resolution that urges the Pennsylvania House to approve a nondiscrimination bill that would extend protections to the LGBT community.
The resolution, which was introduced by Councilwoman-at-Large Blondell Reynolds Brown (D) and Frank DiCicco (D-1st Dist.) late last month, expresses support for House Bill 300 and encourages state legislators to vote in favor of the bill.
HB 300 would amend the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity as classes protected from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. The bill was passed out of the House State Government Committee in March and is currently awaiting approval by the Appropriations Committee.
Reynolds Brown noted that while she usually focuses her Council work on youth, the arts and small businesses, she believes she’s developed a reputation for being a “champion and reliable advocate for the rights of minorities and women, and the LGBT community is certainly no different.”
She said she and DiCicco spoke with a number of LGBT leaders across the state who concurred that a council resolution in favor of HB 300 could bolster its chances of success in the House.
“They all stated that this resolution would make a difference,” Reynolds Brown said. “It gets it on the radar screen and could encourage other municipalities to do this, too. This is a chance for Philadelphia to lead by example and register its voice to urge the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to pass this.”
The resolution notes that while 14 municipalities in the state, including Philadelphia, have similar laws, a vast majority of the state’s residents live outside of these areas. It goes on to note that 20 other states and the District of Columbia currently employ nondiscrimination laws inclusive of sexual orientation, 13 of which also extend protections based on gender identity, and that Pennsylvania is the only state in the Northeast without such a law.