Supreme Court decision shows need for Pa. Fairness Act

This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. It was not the decision we wanted — but thankfully, it was a narrow one.

While the court’s decision reversed the original ruling by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, it did so on grounds that were unique to Masterpiece Cakeshop, finding that the Civil Rights Commission had not acted impartially when originally considering the case. As a result, this ruling applies only to Masterpiece Cakeshop. It does not broadly allow similar businesses to discriminate. In fact, the Court affirmed that states can protect LGBT people from discrimination in the marketplace.   

Our own state constitution begins with a statement of the inherent rights we all share; I personally believe that one of these inherent rights is the freedom from every type of discrimination. This is why I am a cosponsor of the Pennsylvania Fairness Act, bipartisan legislation that has long sought to include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in the types of discrimination banned statewide in the workplace, housing and public accommodations.

I strongly believe in outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression — the type of discrimination not yet banned statewide — for a host of reasons, but the biggest reason is that it is the smart, moral, right thing to do for Pennsylvania.

It is clear we have much more work to do to make things right — to eradicate discrimination both nationwide and in the commonwealth. But I assure you, I will continue to use my position in Harrisburg to fight to expand LGBTQ equality in all aspects of state law, the critical importance of which was underscored by the Supreme Court decision today.