Connellsville lecture on Saturday to focus on rejected human-rights ordinance
The human-rights ordinance that was presented to Connellsville City Council earlier this year and was declined will be discussed at a lecture series on Saturday.
“It includes protection from discrimination in areas of housing, employment and public accommodations on the basis of real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity or expression,” said Paula Johnston, a Connellsville resident and region organizer for the Southwestern Pennsylvania Region of Marriage Equality for Pennsylvania.
Johnston was one of the residents in February who presented the proposed ordinance to council, which led to a public hearing. At the hearing, council decided to not vote on the ordinance because of concerns expressed by those attending.
The major concern is the power of a human-rights commission. The commission would get written complaints of alleged discrimination, which would lead to a fact-finding conference, a public hearing, a decision that a human-rights violation has been committed, which could lead to imposing civil penalties.
Those against the proposed ordinance said the commission would be granted power to unelected officials with no required legal experience, which could be abused and open the doors to frivolous lawsuits.
Johnston said some changes have been made to the proposed ordinance, which residents will present to council at the September meeting.
“Less power is given to the companion Human Relations Commission,” Johnston said of the new ordinance. “It will be educational in nature.”
Johnston said the newly drafted ordinance won't give the commission punitive power. The board won't be able to fine guilty parties or to award damages to those who were discriminated against.
“The expanded procedures for fact-finding were eliminated,” Johnston said, adding that an aggrieved party can't take its case to the state because there are no state laws on the books. “Seems to me it stops with the ‘discrimination' or ‘no discrimination' finding.”
Johnston said the purpose of the lecture on Saturday is to get people involved with the proposed ordinance and have them consider introducing similar legislation before their own local government.
The lecture will kick off the Connellsville Canteen Lecture Series and Artist Incubator, which is funded by a grant from the Three Rivers Community Foundation. The event will begin at 6 p.m. at Connellsville Canteen, 131 W. Crawford Ave.
Mark Hofmann is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- New Frazier superintendent’s main goal: Focus on the students
- Robber threatens employee at Subway in Uniontown Mall
- Porterfield: County Line Church planning spaghetti dinner
- Final ‘Wednesdays at West Overton’ to feature Bullskin woman
- Community Field Day fundraiser planned at East Park in Connellsville
- Dawson native Leonard finishes season with Braves’ AAA affiliate
- Connellsville tech center names homecoming queen
- ‘Trigger clause’ in ordinance unnecessary, says Connellsville’s health board
- Uniontown man shot in foot
- Connellsville’s Mozart Music Club to celebrate 95th anniversary