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90.5 WESA's collection of stories on race, diversity, LGBT, gender and age-related stories.

Bill Would Protect the LGBT Community from Discrimination

There are laws in Pennsylvanians making it illegal to discriminate against someone for a wide array of reasons, from sex to ancestry, but the LGBT community remains unprotected.

A senate bill that will be introduced by Sen. Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia) could change that.

“Right now Pennsylvania is one of few states where discrimination is legal based solely upon who you love, and many of us on both sides of the aisle are ready to put an end to this,” said Farnese.

Pennsylvania is the only state in the northeast that does not have a law to protect individuals from discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Already, 33 municipalities and counties have passed laws to stop discrimination against the LGBT community, but 69 percent of Pennsylvanian workers are not protected.

Farnese also believes his bill could help local business. Employers would be able to attract and retain some of the 174,000 LGBT workers in Pennsylvania which could help stimulate economic growth according to Farnese.

“When folks are looking to start businesses or re-locate businesses within the commonwealth they want to make sure that the commonwealth doesn’t discriminate and makes an equal playing field for everyone here in order to do business,” said Farnese.

The bill will be identical to last session’s HB 300 which did not make it out of committee.