Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is applauding the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, but says state lawmakers should follow up by passing a law to protect people against discrimination based on their sexual or gender preference.
Wolf said in a statement Friday that the high court's 5-4 decision makes clear that "gay marriage" is now simply marriage and same-sex couples cannot be denied the pursuit of happiness.
The Democrat says the Pennsylvania Legislature should now approve a law to protect people from discrimination in education, employment, housing and public accommodation on the basis of their sexual or gender orientation.
Same-sex marriage became legal in Pennsylvania in May 2014, after then-Gov. Tom Corbett decided not to appeal a federal judge's decision upholding it.
Michael Morrill, executive director of Harrisburg-based think tank Keystone Progress, which fights for LGBT issues, said he'd been waiting for the Supreme Court's decision with the same trepidation you would a birth.
The legal fight for equal marriage rights is over but the fight for equal civil rights is not, he said.
“One of the oddities is that, now you can be legally married but if you put a picture of your spouse, and you are a same sex couple, on you desk, you can be fired for that," he said. "So those kids of protections need to be dealt with so we will continue to fight for full civil right for LGBT people.”
Senate Bill 300 and House Bill 300, both pending in the legislature, would address some of those issues. Morrill said non-discrimination laws are top priority.
“HB 300 and SB 300 will make it illegal to discriminate against LGBT people in housing, in employment and in other accommodations, so that’s the kind of thing that we still need to fight for,” he said.