Smith-Wade-El celebrates House passage of the PA Fairness Act

HARRISBURG, May 3– State Rep. Smith-Wade-El, D-Lancaster, praised yesterday’s passage in the House of the PA Fairness Act, which would outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

“I’m honored to be a co-prime sponsor of this important legislation—The PA Fairness Act,” Smith-Wade-El said. “This moment is 22 years and hundreds of elections in the making as Democrats have repeatedly tried to pass legislation that would make Pennsylvania a more equitable place to live and work for our LGBTQ+ community. During this time, many LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanians have found themselves to be second-class citizens, at best, in the commonwealth—worried if they would lose housing or a job or their lives because of who they love or who they are. 

“Pennsylvania for too long has lagged behind other states in outlawing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. That must stop. Thanks to the Democratic majority in the House, we have been able to pass this historic legislation. We’ve got to keep fighting so this legislation passes the Senate. The Fairness Act gets Pennsylvania closer to a place where everyone's rights are protected, where citizens would be wrapped in freedom, equality, fairness and justice which is love spoken out loud. I look forward to that day when the Act is signed into law, and I can claim my inheritance as a Black Pennsylvanian, as a queer Pennsylvanian, and as a Pennsylvanian altogether. Let’s get this done.”

The PA Fairness Act, or H.B. 300, would amend the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act to include “sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression” to the current list of prohibited types of discrimination.  The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act governs the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, which investigates and judges complaints of discrimination in housing, employment, and public services. The commission has the power to charge fines and refer cases to court.

The PA Fairness Act now moves on to the Senate for consideration.