Sims joins legislators to unveil anti-discrimination legislation

HARRISBURG, May 6 – State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila, today partnered with Reps. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, and Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., along with Sen. Larry Farnese, D-Phila., to announce the introduction of legislation to help combat discrimination in the commonwealth.   

The legislation (H.B. 1404 and S.B. 614) would update Pennsylvania’s current nondiscrimination law – originally written in 1955 – to ensure that all residents, regardless of race, color, religion, ancestry, age, sex, national origin, disability -- and now sexual orientation, gender identity and expression – can participate in and contribute to the state’s economy.   

“It’s unacceptable that today, there are Pennsylvanians who must be afraid that they’ll lose their job or home simply because of who they are. As some of my colleagues have been advocating for this legislation for the past 20 years, it’s time we get serious about it. It’s literally lifesaving,” Sims said.

It is currently legal in Pennsylvania to fire someone and deny them housing or business services solely based of the person being gay or transgender.

A recent survey of Pennsylvania residents showed that 73 percent incorrectly believe discrimination against gay and transgender people in the workplace and in housing and business services is already illegal. The same study found 78 percent of Pennsylvanians are in support of updating the current Human Relations Act to include protections for gay and transgender people. 

“It’s time the legislature caught up to the rest of the commonwealth and it’s time to move this legislation forward,” Sims said. “This type of discrimination does not represent Pennsylvania and most of my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, agree. It’s time to protect Pennsylvanians from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.”

According to Freedom for All Americans, more than 500 businesses in Pennsylvania support an update to Pennsylvania law to fully protect LGBT people.