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Gov. Tom Wolf Issues Historic Orders Impacting LGBT Pennsylvanians

Harrisburg–Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf today signed two executive orders prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression for Commonwealth employees and Commonwealth contractors.

 Ted Martin, Executive Director of Equality PA said this today: “Today is an historic moment as Gov. Wolf signs an executive order that protects all Commonwealth employees and contractors from employment discrimination no matter who they are or who they love. Equality Pennsylvania thanks Gov. Wolf for taking this important step toward achieving equality for LGBT Pennsylvanians. Today’s executive orders will signal that Commonwealth agencies and businesses that contract with the Commonwealth are open, inclusive, and competitive in today’s economy. While these orders are a step forward, hundreds of thousands of LGBT Pennsylvanians still live without these protections every day and the Pennsylvania legislature must pass the Pennsylvania Fairness Act to ensure each work place—from the department store warehouse to the butcher shop on Main St.— is free of discrimination, including private workplaces.”

Governor Milton Shapp was the first governor to use an executive order to extend workplace protections to state employees based on sexual orientation in 1976. Each successive governor has issued a similar order to protect state employees based off of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. Pennsylvania has over 73,000 state employees that will be protected by the order.

Gov. Wolf is the first governor in Pennsylvania history to prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression for employees under state contract via executive order. The order will impact more than 3,525 state contracts and 9,000 agency grantees for the first time in history. This order will prohibit discrimination by reason of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression in hiring practice as well as the award, selection, or performance of any contract or grant issued by Commonwealth agencies.

Of approximately 270,000 LGBT Pennsylvanians in the workforce, 32% are protected from discrimination in their workplaces, homes, and business services. These orders will slightly increase the number of LGBT people protected in the workplace and create access for LGBT-owned businesses. However, comprehensive statewide legislation remains a necessity for achieving uniform and complete prohibition of discrimination across the state.

With 60,000 members across the commonwealth, Equality Pennsylvania is the leading organization advancing equality and opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Pennsylvanians.

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