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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: August 3, 2020 02:22 PM
From: Representative Thomas P. Murt and Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, Rep. Wendi Thomas
To: All House members
Subject: LGBTQ+ Bill of Rights
I plan to introduce legislation that would establish a bill of rights for individuals who identify with the LGBTQ+ community. At the current time, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender (LGBTQ+) community are not protected under state statute with regard to their gender identity and/or sexual orientation. This legislation does not propose special or preferential treatment to the LGBTQ+ community, only fair and equitable treatment.
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act only prohibits discrimination for employment, housing and accommodations based on the following designations: race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, education status, handicap, or disability. It is past due that our Commonwealth provide protection from discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation and gender identity, as well.
As a soldier serving in Iraq with the 4th Infantry Division in 2003-2004, in addition to my regular duties, I was assigned to serve as the Equal Opportunity Officer. In the combat zone, my duties included insuring that all soldiers were treated with fairness, equity, respect, and dignity, regardless of their gender identity. These same considerations afforded by our military in a combat zone years ago, should now be extended to all Pennsylvanians.
According to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, the LGBTQ+ community constitutes 4.1% of the population. The LGBTQ+ community should have the same equal protections under the law and should not be discriminated against for who they are or whom they love.
On June 15, 2020, the United States Supreme Court ruled the protections provided by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are extended to individuals in the LGBTQ+ population for employment purposes. This decision made it illegal for workplaces to discriminate on the basis of an individual’s gender identity or sexuality. While these protections are monumental, there is more that needs to be done to ensure discrimination based on a person’s gender identity, expression, or sexual orientation is not tolerated. This legislation will help achieve that objective.
Please join me in support of this effort of affording respect and dignity to the LGBTQ+ community.

Introduced as HB2948