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Corbett Backs Gay Rights Bill

gay prideGovernor Tom Corbett publicly declared his support Wednesday for a longtime legislative priority of Pa. gay rights advocates.

House Bill 300 would bring gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people under the umbrella of the state’s non-discrimination protections.

The bill provides for right to freedom from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation; defining “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression”; and further providing for unlawful discriminatory practices.

It has broad bipartisan support in the House, with 92 cosponsors, 12 of whom are Republicans. It also has a partner bill in the Senate, SB 300.

The governor told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he was “coming out in support” of the bill now that he understood the federal government has no such protections.

“I’ve had people come and talk to me about how they were discriminated against,” Corbett told the Inquirer. “The federal government has antidiscrimination laws. I believed they covered it.”

Conservative organizations have opposed the bill, saying that it would create special protected classes based on perceived sexual orientation or identity.

“We know that this would create an insidious public policy that would result in treating anyone with a conscientious objection to homosexual activity or lifestyle, as an enemy of the state,” said PA Family Council, an organization that promotes traditional family values. “It would pit religious faith and conviction against a new state-protected behavior that could violate our cherished free exercise of religion -— in our schools, in our businesses, in our ministries and in the public square.”

Corbett’s statement in support was lauded by EqualityPA, the state’s leading LGBT rights organization.

“His support for this bill underscores that people of Pennsylvania understand that while we may not all have the same views and beliefs, we all deserve to be able to earn a living to support ourselves, to support our families, and to contribute to society,” EqualityPA Executive Director Ted Martin said. “Thank you, Gov. Corbett, for calling out discrimination in all its forms.”

A poll commissioned by Equality PA and conducted by Susquehanna Polling and Research in March found support of a nondiscrimination policy in the state at 72%.

The General Assembly is now on winter recess and will reconvene on January 7th.


10 Responses

  1. The gay lobby slammed Corbett for being against this. Now he’s for it and they still don’t like him.

  2. Today it’s being reported that Corbett’s team of attorneys is requesting all kinds of very private information about the sexual history of the plaintiffs in the gay marriage case so this statement from him about being against discrimination against gays is just political BS with an added benefit to Corbett of pissing off Metcalfe, a political opponent within his own party.

  3. Although this is a desperate re-election attempt to accomplish a common sense, mainstream, non discriminatory statute I still give him praise. It takes some courage to stand up for an unprotected minority group being a RepubliKKKan in a party that is hostile to gay Americans.

  4. I guess the Gov woke up this morning and realized (much like the President did a few years ago) that LGBT individuals vote. He looks “good” supporting a bill that has been introduced, buried, and killed for the last few sessions. And the ” I didn’t know they could be discriminated routine”????? Who is running this guy’s office and media efforts?

  5. Some might suggest, somewhat cynically, that Corbett is running as a Democrat because his Republican support is weak; yet, regardless of whether his stance is justified [noting the SCOTUS decision, for example], his current advocacy would predictably serve to weaken further his support with many people who constitute the GOP-base.

  6. Exactly – he’s been the Attorney General and now Governor and he didn’t know that LGBT folks can be cavalierly fired for simply being themselves. Who handles his prep? Even if this is true – you don’t say it.

  7. I highly doubt it will change the mind of Daryl Metcalfe, which has been holding the long awaited LGBT rights bill hostage.

    While Corbett is subject to a statewide election in a purple state, Metcalfe represents less than 1/200 of the state, and that sliver is an ancestrally conservative Republican fortress, so he has nothing to lose by blocking HB300.

    That being said, what I hope can happen is that enough Republicans can support it so a discharge petition can be attempted.

  8. What’s sad is that he “didn’t know” that this wasn’t in place on the federal level when he was the AG. What rock was he living under for 8 years?

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