THIS MESSAGE IS BEING SENT ON BEHALF OF A NUMBER OF ORGANIZATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS TO ALL OF OUR MAILING LISTS.
Dear LGBTQ community of Allegheny County and our allies:
Allegheny County Council will be voting on the Allegheny County Human Relations Ordinance this Wednesday, July 1. Council and the County Executive are expected to give it their final approval.
The ordinance will establish a Human Relations Commission and prohibit most discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation based on many characteristics including sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. Similar protections have been in place in the City of Pittsburgh for over 20 years. Now most of those protections will be extended to the County borders.
As many of you are aware, three County Councilman introduced an amendment at the Council’s Government Reform Committee. This amendment is not supported by the coalition. On Monday, Coalition representatives met with County Executive Onorato’s staff to strategize and find an appropriate solution.
The Coalition members were able to suggest wording similar to what has been in effect in Philadelphia for many decades. This amended amendment would exempt Sectarian, Religious, Charitable and Fraternal organization from complying with the Human Relations Ordinance. This amended amendment would also not require religious organizations to register with this Human Relations Commission and in doing so receive the right to discriminate. We would like to reiterate that this solution is exactly the same as what is currently in place in Philadelphia. While the coalition does feel this is a much better solution, this would still allow County dollars to be spent on organizations that are exempt. This however does not prevent the County from mandating in contracts that these types of organizations must comply with the Human Relations Act. These types of mandates in contracts are current practice in Philadelphia.
This ordinance meets the highest standard in trans-inclusive language in the Commonwealth. That being said we believe that we should SUPPORT amending the amendment as proposed by the coalition and PASSING County Council bill 4201-08. We believe that this ordinance will protect a majority of LGBT citizens of Allegheny County against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.
Although we are recommending passage of this bill with the amended amendment, we will continue to work with our neighbors in Philadelphia to further amend the bill so that County funding would not be available to organization that discriminate.
We urge you to contact the following council members and ask them to support the amended amendment:
We also urge you to attend the meeting on Wednesday, July 1, 2009 @ 5PM (but come early the room will be packed)
436 Grant Street
4th floor - Gold Room (room may be changed to accommodate large numbers)
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
If you wish, you may speak at the meeting on Wednesday. (You must be registered 24 hours in advance to speak - 412.350.6490)
We must also take a moment to thank all that were involved including the prime sponsor of the ordinance Councilperson Amanda Green. The level of cooperation from local, state and national organizations as well as the grassroots effort has been tremendous. This type of cooperation for a common goal is unprecedented in Allegheny County and we look forward to using the successes of this cooperation to further our agenda in the future. When we work collectively together we as a community we can accomplish great things in our quest for true equality.
Thank you for your interest and support!
Coalition for the Allegheny County Human Relations Ordinance