Equality Pennsylvania and People of Faith Across State Worship for a Fair Commonwealth

From pulpit to pews, faith leaders and congregations ask legislators to make the fair choice and pass the Pennsylvania Fairness Act.

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania — Eighteen congregations with faith leaders and people of faith from over 10 denominations including Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Jewish and Episcopalian faith traditions took action this past weekend to run petition drives, share sermons, and celebrate diversity while encouraging law makers in Harrisburg to ban discrimination against gay and transgender Pennsylvanians. Equality PA and Faith Leaders had this to say:

“The Fairness Act is a common sense measure that would protect LGBT Pennsylvanians and their families. 70% of Pennsylvanians support this bill, and that includes people of faith. This past weekend’s strong show of support from congregations across the Commonwealth should be a wake-up call to the legislature that it’s time LGBT Pennsylvanians be treated fairly,” said Ted Martin, Executive Director of Equality PA.

Rayce Lamb, Faith Organizer for Equality Pennsylvania, highlighted the significant statewide network of people of faith supporting nondiscrimination protection for LGBT people, “There is a strong consensus in the official moral teachings of religious denominations in Pennsylvania that discrimination against gay and transgender people is immoral. About 600 clergy and over 1000 people of faith from more than 25 denominations in the Equality PA faith network are willingly speaking up, including bishops and other regional denominational leaders.”

Bishop Peggy A. Johnson of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church spoke of her support for the Fairness Act, “The United Methodist Church 2012 Book of Discipline declares: ‘Certain basic human rights and civil liberties are due all persons. We are committed to supporting those rights and liberties for all persons, regardless of sexual orientation.’ (Paragraph 162J). The Pennsylvania Fairness Act is simply that. No one should be fired from their job, evicted from their home or refused services at a business because of their orientation or gender identity.”

The Pennsylvania Fairness Act, or HB 1510 and SB 974, are companion bills that update the Human Relations Act to include gender identity and expression and sexual orientation. The Human Relations Act, originally written in 1955, currently protects people from discrimination based on race, color, religion, ancestry, age, sex, national origin, disability.

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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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