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Equality PA is on the move!

Now three stops into a statewide press tour, Equality Pennsylvania joins community leaders across the state to push for nondiscrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Pennsylvanians. This press tour seeks to amplify the voices already advocating for equality. Religious leaders, small business owners, legislators, and others gathered at Equality Pennsylvania’s press conferences to share their beliefs.

In Lancaster, the first stop on the tour, Representative Mike Sturla voiced his support for nondiscrimination, saying, “The commonwealth should be seen as a place that welcomes any individual who wants to work hard, succeed and grow our economy,” Sturla said,  “without the fear of being fired or refused services simply because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.”

Faith leaders and small business owners agreed with Representative Sturla. At Equality Pennsylvania’s second press conference in State College, Pastor Dean Lindsey of State College Presbyterian Church encouraged members of all faiths to support equality, saying, “Within my faith tradition, we have prayed together, studied together, listened to one another, and argued a great deal, too, but we are united in this belief:  there is no moral justification for denying the basic requirements of social existence to any person on the basis of sexual orientation.  Discrimination is immoral. We look forward to the day when we can call this type of legal discrimination a thing of the past.”

Allison Subasic, director of the LGBT student resource center at Penn State, and Heather Benjamin, owner of Benjamin’s Catering discussed the lack of nondiscrimination protection and its effect on businesses. “I’d wager a lot of people don’t realize that (they) aren’t protected already,” Benjamin said, exposing the vulnerable position LGBT people hold in the workforce. Subasic works with students preparing for their first jobs, and explained that many students worry about losing jobs or opportunities if an employer learns of their sexual orientation.

Upper Darby Township Council member Sekela Coles advocated for legal change in the third press conference in Media, saying, “Discrimination against any group of people is classless and has no place in our state. To me, it’s a no-brainer to urge our state Legislature to support HB 300 and SB 300.”

All of the community leaders who spoke at the three press conferences represent the majority opinion of the state. Over 350 faith leaders, over 300 small business owners, three major chambers of commerce, and multiple Fortune 500 Companies have publicly supported ending discrimination in Pennsylvania. As the press tour continues, Equality Pennsylvania hopes to show legislators in Harrisburg that Pennsylvanians in every region, city, and town want to see legalized discrimination come to an end.

Senate Bill 300 and House Bill 300 would update the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act to make sure that all Pennsylvanians, including LGBT people, will be treated fairly at work, in housing, and in public accommodation.  Right now, SB/HB 300 is supported by the Governor, co-sponsored by 96 Representatives and 25 Senators, and has consistently enjoyed around 70 percent support in Pennsylvania polls. More information about the support for ending discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodation can be found at

Equality Pennsylvania’s press tour is far from over, and there are many ways to keep updated on its progress. Follow @equalitypa on twitter and like our Facebook page,

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