In the wake of the Orlando massacre and the continued stalling of statewide non-discrimination legislation, local governments have renewed their efforts to support LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinances.
At a June vigil for the Orlando victims, Carlisle Council member Dawn Flowers announced the proposed legislation. There is support for the ordinance among the Council members and community members. At an open forum meeting last Thursday with the Council, over 100 community members engaged in the conversation discussing the merits of the ordinance. The ordinance is expected to be adopted in October, at earliest.
On Monday, Wilkes-Barre Council member Beth Gilbert announced she plans to introduce an LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance next week. Wilkes-Barre would be the second major city in Northeastern Pennsylvania to do so, following Scranton in 2003. The ordinance is expected to have strong support, including from openly-gay Council member Tony Brooks. Pittston and Dickson City have recently adopted non-discrimination ordinances as well.
In Southwestern Pennsylvania, Butler Council continues to debate a non-discrimination ordinance. Approximately 75 community members attended last Thursday’s meeting, which had to be moved to the Butler Fire Company Building to accommodate the many citizens interested in speaking on the proposal. An ordinance has not been introduced and there is currently no timeline for an adoption.
There are currently 35 municipalities in Pennsylvania with LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinances. According to the Movement Advancement Project, only Florida has just as many in any single state. With the expected adoption of an ordinance in Carlisle and Wilkes-Barre this year, Pennsylvania would become the state with the most local non-discrimination ordinances in the nation.
If you are interested in advocating for a local non-discrimination ordinance in your community, please send us an email and look up more information at the Suburban and Rural Alliance of Pennsylvania.
Photo: Butler residents speak on the proposed non-discrimination ordinance at the July 28th City Council meeting (PYC)