Monday, September 30, 2013


Pennsylvania Democratic lawmaker pulls support from nondiscrimination bill citing 'concerns'
HARRISBURG -- A Democratic lawmaker withdrew as a co-sponsor from the proposed amendment to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, (PHRA), citing "concerns" regarding public accommodations for transgender people. State Representative John Galloway (D-Bucks County) had originally signed on as a cosponsor of HB-300, a measure to expand protections the state's LGBT under the PHRA, to prohibit discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations because of “sexual orientation” or “gender identity or expression."
Galloway told the political website PoliticsPA;
“Ninety percent of the bill I support,” Galloway said “There’s no reason to discriminate for any issue. I think preventing housing and employment discrimination is a no brainer." But he added, “I do have questions about the transgender issue where it concerns public facilities,” Galloway said. 
“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.”
The chief spokesperson for Equality Pennsylvania, Levana Layendecker, told LGBTQ Nation Monday that it was her understanding that Representative Galloway and other House lawmakers have come under increasing pressure from conservative religious groups to withdraw their support over the "bathroom" issue. But Layendecker pointed out that the "measure enjoys support from most House Democrats and several Republicans."
Equality PA's executive director Ted Martin in an email to LGBTQ Nation Monday wrote;
"While it is disappointing to lose a supporter, Equality PA has gathered more co-sponsors than ever before on SB 300 including bi-partisan support. And recent polls show that 70% of Pennsylvanians believe that LGBT people should not be discriminated against at work or for housing. We are confident that we have the support in the state to win this important victory for equality."
PoliticsPA reported that the "bathroom" issue was emphasized in the Faithful Citizenship blog, which encouraged readers to lobby Galloway and other representatives to drop their support of the bill. So far only Galloway has removed his name from the legislation.
Galloway said he would "continue to study the issue and meet with transgender groups" in order to make a final decision as to whether or not he would support the entire measure.