Support for the PA Fairness Act Soars with the Backing of Nearly 1,000 Businesses

Posted on February 3, 2016

Today, we are proud to announce that nearly 1,000 Pennsylvania businesses have endorsed the Pennsylvania Fairness Act in favor of adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of classes protected from discrimination in the Keystone state’s existing Human Relations Act.

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Under current state law, there are no explicit protections banning discrimination against LGBT Pennsylvanians in employment, housing and public places like restaurants, shopping malls, parks or doctors offices. In other words, someone can be fired, evicted or denied service just because of who they are or whom they love.

For the nearly 1,000 businesses—representing an estimated 150,000 employees—passing statewide nondiscrimination protections for gay and transgender Pennsylvanians is, simply put, smart business.

According to David E. Black, President and CEO, Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC, one of Pennsylvania Competes coalition members, fully inclusive nondiscrimination laws are the bedrock of a competitive economy:

An inclusive Pennsylvania is a more economically vibrant Pennsylvania. [The PA Fairness Act] will help Pennsylvania attract a talented workforce and will make Pennsylvania a location of choice for entrepreneurs and companies to locate and expand their businesses and the jobs that come with them.

All of Pennsylvania’s 18 Fortune 500 companies already have LGBT nondiscrimination policies in place. Passing the Pennsylvania Fairness Act would simply bring state law in-line with commonly accepted business practices.

Todd Polinchock, president of coalition member the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors, said:

Realtors® are bound by the National Association of Realtors® Code of Ethics, which already prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We believe it’s critical that Pennsylvania provides a housing and work environment free of discrimination.

Pennsylvania is the last state in the northeast to pass LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination legislation. Within 15 years, more than 70% of the national workforce will be comprised of the millennial generation. Without fully-inclusive statewide bans on discrimination, Pennsylvania risks siphoning off top millennial talent to its progressive and inclusive neighbors—and compromising its reputation as a national economic leader.

This year, lawmakers have an opportunity to take decisive action to advance the Pennsylvania Fairness Act and ensure all hardworking Pennsylvanians are protected from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.

With record-breaking business support, strong bipartisan support from more than 100 members of the General Assembly, and a 78% supermajority support from the general public—now is the time to take action.

Click here to tell your lawmakers: I support the Pennsylvania Fairness Act and urge you to pass this critical legislation in 2016 to ensure the future and sustainable prosperity of our great state.

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