Pennsylvania Protections for LGBTQ Community
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation and the Equality Federation Institute recently released the Municipal Equality Index report. The report assesses lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) equality in cities across the United States. Ten Pennsylvania cities were included in the report which revealed that discrimination protections vary throughout the state.
Not all of the 44 Pennsylvania communities that have passed LGBTQ protection ordinances offer the same level of protection. There is currently no statewide nondiscrimination law for the LGBTQ community. According to the interim director of Equality Pennsylvania, only about half of Pennsylvania’s population is protected from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The national average score was 57 out of 100 points on the Municipal Equality Index. The scores of the ten Philadelphia cities are as follows:
- Allentown: 100
- Carlisle: 72
- Erie: 39
- Harrisburg: 56
- New Hope: 80
- Philadelphia: 100
- Pittsburgh: 100
- Reading: 66
- State College: 73
- Wilkes-Barre: 62
Barriers to Equality
The HRC President stated that all states are continuing to progress toward full equality, including Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh and Allentown received 100 points for the first time in the six years that the report has been released. However, conservatives in the Pennsylvania legislature have blocked the passing of a statewide nondiscrimination ban for the past 14 years. During that time, municipalities have been implementing their own protections, bringing the state closer to statewide protections.
The interim executive director of Equality Pennsylvania expressed concern over a recent amendment attached to the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. This program is designed to aid families who do not qualify for Medicaid but who also cannot afford to purchase private health coverage. The amendment, which prohibits funds from being used for transition-related services, was recently approved by the United States Senate.
The amendment sets the tone for discrimination and many activists are disappointed in this development, stating that the community is being attacked. Supporters of the amendment believe that it is inappropriate to use state funds to pay for sex-change and related procedures for children. The interim executive director of Equality Pennsylvania believes that the passage of this amendment may be sending a message that Pennsylvania is not welcoming to LGBTQ families.
However, it appears that LGBTQ support is gaining traction in the commonwealth. HRC launched HRC Rising earlier this year, a grassroots campaign focused on mobilizing voters in six states, including Pennsylvania. So far, the HRC has identified over two million Pennsylvanians as supporters of policies that advance LGBTQ equality.
Pennsylvania Civil Rights Lawyers at Williams Cedar, LLC Fight for the Rights of the LGBTQ Community
Federal and state laws prevent employers from discriminating on the basis of race, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability. If you believe that your civil rights have been violated, contact a civil rights lawyer in Pennsylvania at Williams Cedar. Contact us online or call 215-557-0099 to discuss your case. We have offices in Philadelphia and Cherry Hill, New Jersey to help serve our clients across the nation.