Frankel reintroduces Pa. Fairness Act with bipartisan support, urges Turzai to send it to a committee that will give fair hearing

HARRISBURG, May 17 – State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, co-chairman of the legislature's LGBT Equality Caucus, will reintroduce his proposed Pennsylvania Fairness Act in the House, again with bipartisan support.

The bill would include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in the types of discrimination banned statewide in the workplace, housing and public accommodations. Frankel is urging House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, to send the bill to a committee where it can get a fair hearing, not the State Government Committee chaired by anti-LGBT Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler.

Frankel said, "Pennsylvania polls for the past eight years have shown consistent 70 percent support for providing our LGBT relatives, friends, neighbors and co-workers with the same protections as the rest of us. Many Pennsylvanians are stunned when they find out state or federal law doesn't already protect LGBT people in in the workplace, in housing and public accommodations such as being able to eat in a restaurant or to get a hotel room like everyone else," Frankel said.

"It's past time to fix this. More than 40 local governments across the state have decided to stop waiting on Harrisburg or Washington, but the legislature should do the right thing and provide these commonsense protections statewide. This would help us to compete for jobs and residents with all the other northeastern states, which already have these protections, and give us an advantage over the states that don't. The recent backlashes against anti-LGBT laws in Indiana and North Carolina show the economic penalty for doing the wrong thing, or the economic reward for doing the right thing.

"For example, a major company put adding 1,200 well-paying jobs on hold in North Carolina until much of that state's anti-LGBT law was repealed, and now those jobs are going there. I want Pennsylvania competing for jobs like those. And I want Pennsylvania to be first in fairness.

"To that end, I urge Speaker Turzai to send the Fairness Act to a committee where it can get a fair hearing, and we all know that a committee chaired by Representative Metcalfe just doesn't qualify, based on his record and his own words about the bill."