PGN Special Edition Coverage

PGN: Do you support the Equality Act?

JF: Yes, very much. I would consider myself a champion of all LGBT rights and policies. As a small-town mayor, I did the first wedding ceremony in the state by an elected official. This was in 2013, when it was still technically illegal [in Pennsylvania]. Gov. [Tom] Corbett took some pot shots, like, “Wait ’til the voters get a hold of you.” There was a lot of rhetoric and intensity surrounding that decision, whereas I felt we finally had an opportunity to make a statement here in Pennsylvania to support marriage equality. When Montgomery County began issuing those licenses back in 2013, I was like, “Hey, send them our way for the ceremony,” and that’s what happened in August of 2013. 

PGN: Do you support the Equality Act, and what would you do to advance it?

KM: Yes. The approach being taken now is, “Listen, let’s think about this as an economic-competitiveness issue.” The places that are most welcoming to the LGBT community will be the places that are most competitive. They’ll attract young people, investments. They’re places that show better quality of life overall. I think strategies like that can expand the tent of people who are willing to put a shoulder to the wheel behind important legislation like this.

PGN: Do you support the Equality Act, and how would you advance it?

JS: Yes. I fought for the previous ENDA [Employment Non-Discrimination Act]. Let me just tell you how it works in the military. There was a study done [to determine] whether gays would impact us under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The assessment came out that, no, it would have no impact on operation readiness. That’s how I feel about why we need to make sure we have a federal nondiscrimination law. It isn’t just that you want equality. It’s that we want the best of everybody. Therefore, to have something like “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” or the failure to have an antidiscrimination law, it’s harmful to the common effort. As I advance these arguments, I like to say the common mission benefits by having the best of the best. 

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