Three Pennsylvania town councils discussed antidiscrimination ordinances at recent city council meetings, with two moving forward and one moving back, reports Jeremy Rodriguez for Philadelphia Gay News.
On March 6th, an ordinance was unanimously approved by the Borough Council of Kennett Square that prohibits discrimination based on a number of factors, including sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. The effort was led by Mayra Zavala, vice chair of the Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs, after recent concerns about discrimination against the Latinx community.
Meanwhile, the Johnstown City Council tabled a nondiscrimination ordinance in a 4-2 vote, citing ongoing federal legal action involving transgender issues.
The ordinance was spearheaded by John DeBartola, Keystone Alliance/Gaylife Newsletter president and Johnstown mayoral candidate.
“The city council has a bad habit of tabling things that are controversial,” said DeBartola, who is openly gay. “They don’t like to take a stand. I was disappointed in that but it is what it is. We are going to keep the pressure going.
“These people took a bill that was to guarantee equality and non-discrimination in housing and the workplace and they turned it into a bathroom issue.”
As previously reported, Phoenixville passed a third nondiscrimination ordinance in a 6-1 vote.
“This means that Phoenixville stands with other municipalities in the Commonwealth that reject the concept of discrimination, specifically for the LGBT community, expanding on protected classes which Pennsylvania does not protect,” Edwin Soto, a Phoenixville councilman, told Philadelphia Gay News. “This is a huge win for that section of our population. In addition to that, it also helps us form a human-relations commission which acts primarily as a mediator, especially in small municipalities like ourselves.”
Pennsylvania Youth Congress Executive Director Jason Landau Goodman advised locals to get involved in their own towns.
“I encourage people to do their research, to look at what has already been adopted across the state, to reach out to organizations that have worked on these issues, and to really look inward about your own community,” Goodman told Philadelphia Gay News. “That’s what these ordinances are about. This is the time for you to have these conversations with local leaders, with your neighbors, about the importance of inclusion, unity, and respect.”
Read the full story about local nondiscrimination ordinances here.