We stand on the precipice of the end of marriage discrimination. The U.S. Supreme Court just heard cases on both the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8. Although this warms my heart, it saddens me to realize just how far behind the times Pennsylvania is on this issue.
In over half of Pennsylvania municipalities, people of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) orientation can be fired from their jobs or kicked out of their homes, with absolutely no legal recourse. The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA), which outlines protected populations within the commonwealth, does not recognize sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. As an LGBT individual, I find it ridiculous and insulting that I can be free from discrimination in Pittsburgh, but not in Altoona.
Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Squirrel Hill, and Rep. Chris Ross, R-Chester County, will be introducing a bill to amend the PHRA to be LGBT-inclusive this year. This bill has been introduced several times before and has failed every time. I hope this is the year when Pennsylvania will value the life and the work of all its residents, despite whom they love.
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