PA Equality Project Responds to Chambersburg Borough Council
January 26, 2022 - The Pennsylvania Equality Project (PEP) is disheartened that the Borough Council for Chambersburg Borough has repealed an ordinance that banned discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The previous council that left office at the end of 2021 had passed this anti-discrimination measure only four months prior to the repeal vote. They had worked tirelessly to pass the ordinance, like the one passed in 70 municipal regions across Pennsylvania.
Unlike its neighbors in New England from New York to Maine, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has once again failed the LGBTQ+ community by not only refusing to pass a statewide nondiscrimination law, but also refusing to move bills about adding sexual orientation and gender identity to nondiscrimination law out of their respective committees in the General Assembly. Thus, municipal governments from Erie to Philadelphia have passed their own local ordinances to provide some measures of protection. Sadly, these protective laws do not apply beyond the small geographic area in which they were passed.
In Pennsylvania, it is legal in unprotected areas to fire someone, evict someone, deny someone credit or access to education, or eject someone from any public accommodation such as a hotel or restaurant based solely on the person's sexual orientation or gender identity. Despite the US Supreme Court's actions in the Bostock Matter from 2020, the Court's actions apply to companies with 15 or more employees. Companies with fewer employees are free to terminate employment or not hire someone based on one's sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Pennsylvania Equality Project calls on other municipalities across Pennsylvania to consider and adopt ordinances that provide the protection that the LGBTQ+ community so desperately needs. We call on the state legislature to move the Fairness Act out of committee and to the full chambers for a vote. If it should pass, then we encourage Governor Wolf to sign the bill into law, as he has promised to do.