Three Greater Philadelphia state senators last week talked up bills that would allow same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania and also ban landlord and employer discrimination against gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender persons. Speaking at a City Hall news conference, state Sens. Daylin Leach, Mike Stack and Larry Farnese urged Republican leaders to support, not block, Senate Bill 719, which would legalize same-sex marriage, and Senate Bill 300, which would ban landlord and employer discrimination against LGBT Pennsylvanians.
“Today, we ask our fellow lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to join our coalition and pass this bill when we return to Harrisburg,” said Leach, who represents parts of Montgomery and Delaware counties. “Today, we ask the governor to support us, and we ask all Pennsylvanians to call their legislators and advocate for the long-overdue equality that the LGBT community has waited for and deserves.”
Northeast Democrat Stack said Gov. Tom Corbett should back the bills and push for social justice for all Pennsylvanians.
Farnese, a Democrat whose district stretches from South Philly into Port Richmond, said the bills would make gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender people “a protected class.”
He stressed the marriage equality and anti-discrimination bills also make economic sense for Pennsylvania. Some people are not locating in Pennsylvania and not locating their businesses in the state because they are not legally protected.
He said the bills are good for jobs and good for economic opportunity.
Supporting the measures is common sense, he said.
“It’s basically doing the right thing,” he said.
Leach, who has introduced a marriage equality bill every year since 2009, said, “Denying basic human rights to a large segment of society contradicts our national creed. It is our duty as lawmakers to protect the people we represent and to guarantee equality and freedom for all.”
Public opinion, which just 10 years ago was firmly against such guarantees, has changed, he said. Massachusetts, he said, has allowed gay marriage for a decade and, “There is no evidence of adverse effects on anyone.” ••