Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Governor Corbett (R-PA) Endorses LGBT Rights Bill

Republican Governor Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania (widely regarded as the most unpopular incumbent Governor in the country) surprised many when he announced that he is endorsing a bill that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:
Corbett, who has previously staked out conservative positions on social issues, told The Inquirer that he was "coming out in support" of the bill after learning that federal law does not cover discrimination in the state.

"I've had people come and talk to me about how they were discriminated against," said Corbett, who served for eight years as the state's attorney general. "The federal government has antidiscrimination laws. I believed they covered it."

Corbett's support of legislation that has languished in the General Assembly for a decade is viewed by many advocates as a major step forward on a civil rights issue.

"This is remarkably big news," said Ted Martin, executive director of Equality Pennsylvania, a statewide gay rights advocacy group. "His leadership will move the issue forward in a way that is long overdue."

Currently, 23 states, including all of the Northeastern United States, and 33 Pennsylvania municipalities have nondiscrimination laws that include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Also, 23 Fortune 500 companies based in Pennsylvania have similar nondiscrimination policies.
Of course if the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was enacted it would change federal law to prohibit anti-LGBT workplace discrimination nationwide. It is truly bizarre that Corbett is claiming that after serving 8 years as Pennsylvania's attorney general he did not know that there was no statewide law against LGBT discrimination in the Keystone state.

Openly gay legislator Brian Sims introduced HB 300 (the bill that Corbett endorsed) this past May.

Hat/tip to LGBT Think Progress

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