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The Future of Anti-Discrimination Laws in Pennsylvania

Heather McClain

When the US Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in June, a number of Pennsylvania couples began challenging the state’s defense of marriage law in the courts.

If the law is struck down without legislation, according to two state legislators, certain protections will need to be in place.

In many Pennsylvania towns, the LGBT community is faced with a catch-22: although there are anti-discrimination laws for race, religion, sex, ethnicity etc., sexual orientation and gender identity are not protected. Cities such as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have their own specific laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, but a large portion of the state does not.

As a result, State Representatives Brian Sims, the first openly LGBT person elected to the PA General Assembly and Erin Molchany of Pittsburgh, are touring the area, advocating for House Bill 300. If passed, this statewide ordinance would ban any and all kinds of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Both representatives say change is coming in PA and they're confident that this bill will pass. “Not only does it seem inevitable to me," says Sims "But it is inevitable to our opponents as well. This will become law.”

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