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Equality Pennsylvania calls out Anti-LGBT Extremists for Bringing Discrimination from North Carolina to Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Family Institute resorts to fear mongering and lies, putting Pennsylvania economy, jobs, and vulnerable young people at risk

Amber Meyer and family, Chambersburg, PA

Amber Meyer and family, Chambersburg, PA

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania — Anti-LGBT attacks by the Pennsylvania Family Institute were leveled this weekend to spread disinformation about the Pennsylvania Fairness Act—a bill that would bring jobs to Pennsylvania and expand economic opportunity for all Pennsylvanians. Equality PA and fair-minded people across the state had this to say:

“Pennsylvania families are hurting. We need to build a strong economy and create jobs and opportunity. In states like North Carolina, opponents of equality have used misleading political tactics similar to Pennsylvania Family Institute’s misinformation, to undermine workplace protections. We need our legislature to come together and get on with the business that really matters to people – passing a budget, passing the Pennsylvania Fairness Act to build a 21st century economy.  Par for the course, Pennsylvania Family Institute and their national handlers are spending tens of thousands of dollars to gin up anti-LGBT rhetoric, create division and distraction, and put jobs and vulnerable young people at risk. So much for family values,” said Ted Martin, Executive Director of Equality Pennsylvania.

“As the owner of a small coffee shop, it’s just smart business for potential customers to know that they can walk through the door, place an order and feel welcome. National groups that don’t care about Pennsylvania families are using the Pennsylvania Family Institute to import their outside agenda to Pennsylvania. I am open for business, and Pennsylvania should be too. The only thing we should be interested in importing from North Carolina is new customers,” said Annette Coletta, owner of Zen Den coffee shop in Doylestown.

Concerned parents who have transgender children are speaking out as well.

“My daughter is only eleven years old. She’s transgender, born male but for a long time has known that she identifies as female, a girl. My daughter is a gift from God. She brings smiles and joy wherever she goes and I am thankful that she was given to me to raise. She is my daughter and I will do my best to make sure she is healthy, happy, and try to make the world a better place for her to grow up in. Out of state groups don’t have the right to use my daughter and our lives for political gain,” said Linda Thomas from Erie, mother of an 11 year old transgender daughter.

Melissa DeStefano from Pottstown, mother of a transgender son said, “My son is transgender and I love him more than anything in the world.  He’s a faithful, athletic, caring kid who loves to serve others and has to be reminded to scoop out the cat box. Before my son came out as transgender, I’d never heard about transgender issues and I had a lot of questions and that’s okay. We are on this journey together. Please don’t let folks who don’t care about our state or our children make kids like my son a political football for their real agenda like they did in North Carolina. As a registered Republican, I believe that we should keep politics out of the personal lives of our children.”

“As a faith leader, I am saddened that this group would stoop to the same discriminatory tactics that are hurting hard-working people in Georgia and North Carolina, particularly members of the LGBT community and their families. Their statements are based in the desire to drum up fear and misunderstanding, but my faith tells me to treat people with fairness, respect, and love and to protect those in danger of disenfranchisement. Pennsylvania is the only state in the northeast without statewide protections for gay and transgender people and their families, it’s time we update the law so that everyone is treated fairly,” said the Reverend Ginny Miles, Penns Park United Methodist Church.

“This bill is about protecting Pennsylvanians so that everyone can have a fair chance and live a good life. The bi-partisan Fairness Act would expand protections from non-discrimination to LGBTQ people and is a common sense measure that over 70% of Pennsylvanians support.  Pennsylvania is the only state in the region without this kind of law, and is long overdue for protection against discrimination for the LGBT community.  We cannot allow what has happened in North Carolina to happen here in Pennsylvania,” said Joanne Carroll, President of Trans Central Pennsylvania.

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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