Category Archives: Politicians

Press Pause? Pennsylvania’s Bipartisan LGBT Anti-Discrimination Legislation Stalls

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/legalcode

PA Capitol by Flickr User Doug Hoffman

By Alexis Hamilton

Bipartisan legislation in Pennsylvania’s General Assembly that will ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in housing, employment, and public spaces is not likely to pass any time before 2015. Pittsburgh’s NPR news station reports:

[Ted] Martin [head of Equality PA] said the measure just picked up its 97th supporter in the 203-member House. As of June, it was backed by 25 of the 50 state senators. Gov. Tom Corbett voiced support for the measure last December.

But Senate momentum on the discrimination ban dwindled earlier this year. In the House, the bill’s fate has been in the control of the House’s State Government Committee, a panel stacked with staunch conservatives and chaired by Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler), who has been adamantly against bringing the bill up for a vote at all.

Metcalfe’s stance is hardly a surprise. Metcalfe is the prime sponsor of Pennsylvania’s Marriage Protection Amendment, which would define marriage as the union between one man and one woman only.

Fortunately, plenty of Republicans do support the LGBT anti-discrimination legislation. Republican House co-sponsors include: L. Chris Ross, Mike Fleck, Thomas P. Murt, Michael Peifer, Mario M. Scavello, John Taylor, Rosemary M. Brown, Scott A. Petri, Thomas H. Killion, Marguerite Quinn, Kate Harper, Todd Stephens, Katharine M. Watson, and Warren Kampf.

Republican Governor Tom Corbett plans to sign the legislation once it passes.

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Pro-equality Republican runs for NY mayor

It shouldn’t be too hard to replace Mayor Bloomberg.  There are lots of people who would be willing to parade around New York while occasionally launching pet projects that strip New Yorkers and their businesses of liberties (soda ban, I’m looking at you!)

But New Yorkers now have an option that would be a real improvement.  Joe Lhota is a Georgetown and Harvard-educated former investment banker with deep New York roots and government experience.  He’s a Republican.  And Republican with a libertarian streak that extends to gay-equality.  As reported by the New York Post:

Joe Lhota calls himself a “new brand of Republican” — in favor of “fiscal discipline” but progressive on social issues: He’s pro-choice on abortion, is fine with same-sex marriage, and is in favor of legalizing marijuana.

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IL Republican Gubenatorial talks LGBT support

rutherford

— By Stephen Richer

More and more pro-gay equality Republicans keep popping up.

This one is Dan Rutherford, current treasurer of Illinois and candidate for governor.  In a recent interview with Windy City Media Group, Rutherford talked gay rights.  The Windy City Media Group started the article by saying:

If more Republicans were like Dan Rutherford, Illinois Democrats might not take the LGBT vote for granted. Rutherford, state treasurer and a GOP gubernatorial hopeful, has backed more LGBT legislation in his career than many of the state’s Democrats.

When asked about civil unions in Illinois he said:

I voted for it, of course. I was the only Republican in the Senate to vote for it. Did I get some grief? Yeah. But it was one of those things that I thought in my heart, it was the right thing to do.

But, sadly, he doesn’t yet support gay marriage because he fears that gay marriage will squash religious liberties (the freedom for churches to abstain from gay marriage — an issue Matt addressed here).

Now, we’ll go to gay marriage. The difference for me there is the religious component.

Fortunately, Rutherford describes his own views as “evolving,” and he thinks the Republican Party should undergo a similar evolution:

I think the party should change. I think the party should evolve. I think it’s going to take people like myself to help the party evolve. When I voted for the human rights bill in the early 90s, there was only a few of us. And when we moved forward to eventually pass it, there was more of us. And as we moved into consideration of the civil unions bill, there were some of us. …

So to answer the question, yes, I think my party needs to be more tolerant. I think they need to be more tolerant of the gay and lesbian community. They need to be more tolerant to the ethnic minority community. I think they need to be more tolerant with regards to the immigrant community.

I’m not saying that to be negative on my party. I’m just saying that if we allow gay rights, guns and abortion to be the definition of the difference between a good Republican and a bad Republican, we will be the party of the perpetual minority.

Overall, not perfect, but moving in the right direction.  Ditto the party?