State Representative John Galloway (D-Bucks) has once again become a co-sponsor of HB 300, hours after news that he withdrew his name from the bill broke. HB 300 will amend the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act to add protections for LGBT individuals in housing, employment, and public accommodations.
Galloway first co-sponsored the bill when it was initially introduced in August, and withdrew his co-sponsorship in September, possibly due to pressure from a Bucks County religious group, “Faithful Citizenship in Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District,” who criticized the bill, and encouraged readers to lobby their representatives to drop their support of the bill.
Galloway told PoliticsPa that he agreed with “90%” of the bill, but questioned measures to provide transgender individuals with equal access to restroom facilities, saying, “I’m not sure how it would affect people who aren’t transgender. I would like to do more research into how this would concern for example public restrooms. I want to protect not only transgender people but people who are not transgender.”
This morning, after pressure from political advocacy groups, Galloway rejoined the bill as a co-sponsor. His office was visited by the Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition Executive Director, Jason Landau Goodman, who pressed the Representative’s staff to “strongly reconsider his position,” saying, “it is a moral imperative to fully protect transgender Pennsylvanians. The provision of nondiscrimination for transgender individuals in public accommodations is essential.”
Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have laws which protect transgender citizens against discrimination. While some Pennsylvania municipalities have inclusive local nondiscrimination laws, more than two-thirds of the state’s population lives in an area with no protections for LGBT people.