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BREAKING NEWS: Lehigh County Bans Discrimination for County Employees and Contractors

ALLENTOWN, PA – On February 14, 2018, Lehigh County Executive Phil Armstrong signed two administrative notifications enhancing LGBT non-discrimination protections in the county. The first notification clarified the county’s own employment policy and the second mandates that county contractors and grantees also comply with the non-discrimination requirement.

“Pennsylvania remains the only state in the northeast that lacks basic protections for LGBTQ citizens,” said Equality Pennsylvania Interim Executive Director John Dawe.  “On this Valentine’s Day, we commend Lehigh County Executive Phil Armstrong for affirming what the majority of Pennsylvanians believe – that people should not be denied opportunity because of who they are or who they love.”

Lehigh County, a county with urban, suburban, and rural communities only has two municipalities with non-discrimination laws. LGBT discrimination is legal in the remainder of the county.

“While the good news is that non-discrimination is the law in the Cities of Allentown and Bethlehem, the need for these administrative notifications is great. Nearly 70% of Pennsylvanians live in municipalities with no protections on the job or in housing related to their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Adrian Shanker, executive director of the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center.  “Here in Lehigh County, a business in Whitehall could legally put a sign on their front door that says “now hiring, except for transgender people”. A non-profit in Fogelsville could legally fire an employee after learning of their same-sex marriage. But today, thanks to County Executive Armstrong’s decisive action on this core issue of civil rights, you cannot discrimination if you take funds from Lehigh County.”

“We’d like to especially acknowledge the tireless work of the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center in Allentown, for working together with Mr. Armstrong to expand civil rights protections for LGBT people in the Lehigh Valley,” Dawe added.  “We continue to call on the Pennsylvania General Assembly, Governor Tom Wolf, and municipal leaders across the state to take action and make discrimination illegal in all corners of the Commonwealth.”

 

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