Despite the mostly positive response I received from members of Lock Haven City Council the last time I presented the idea of enacting a non-discrimination ordinance as well as policy changes for city employees to protect members of the Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender community with the same protections afforded to others based on religion, race, and gender; Monday night, at the regular public meeting, the Mayor told me in no uncertain terms that they did not wish to move forward on the matter. I was told that I was welcome to go to the state and lobby them for the changes if I desired.
This is an appalling and very callous approach to an issue that deals with basic human rights. Under current Pennsylvania law gay marriage remains illegal and in 70% of Pennsylvania it is still legal for a person to be fired from their job, denied public accommodation, or evicted from their apartment simply because they are homosexual.
Perhaps some members of council or even the Mayor himself are content with the current state of affairs and passing the blame on to Harrisburg, but this is a matter which should concern all of us, even those who are not members of the Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender community, when others are being treated with such blatant discrimination and denied basic human rights. After all, Harrisburg simply represents all of us in a collective sense and in this we are all responsible for making the needed changes to move Pennsylvania forward in the right direction.
This is why communities across the state are not waiting for Harrisburg to take action and have begun to pass policies that will help end discrimination against the Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender community in their towns and cities.
The most recent of these in our region was State College joining the over 20 other townships, boroughs, and cities across Pennsylvania that have taken a progressive role in ensuring that all citizens of our great state receive the protections they are entitled to by our Constitution.
I encourage the Mayor and members of Council to reconsider their decision to refrain from action and I call upon all members of our community to speak out in favor of ensuring that all of our neighbors and fellow citizens are able to enjoy the same rights we do and pursue happiness without fear of discrimination.