Yesterday Bethlehem, Pennsylvania became the 21st municipality in Pennsylvania to add a non-discrimination policy covering gender identity and sexual orientation in employment and public accommodations.
From the Bethlehem Patch:
The celebration in the gallery was muted but audible. Dozens of bill supporters, many of whom are members or friends of the gay and lesbian community in the Lehigh Valley, were seated and awaiting council’s decision for nearly three hours. It almost sounded like a sigh of relief.
Adrian Shanker, the Vice President of the Pennsylvania Diversity Network told NCTE:
“In a state like PA where we don’t have a statewide law protecting LGBT people, local laws have been the only recourse for people now in 21 municipalities across the state. The city of Bethlehem is no longer the largest city in the state to not protect people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Shanker coordinated the coalition effort with allies from the AARP of Pennsylvania, Equality Pennsylvania, the ACLU of Pennsylvania, 13 labor unions and local businesses, leading to a unanimous vote in the City Council. Shanker adds, “Hopefully the legislature in Harrisburg sees this and takes a stand for transgender people [...] This sends a strong message to other municipalities that if you do this, then you need to do this right.” Mayor John Callahan is expected to sign the law very soon.
Read the full story here.