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Pivotal LGBTQ Civil Rights Victory in Western Pennsylvania

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Last night, Allegheny County Council became the 15th municipality in Pennsylvania to extend non-discrimination protections to LGBTQ persons through the creation of a Human Rights Commission. The 8-6 votes was not strictly along party lines, but was a significant advance considering five years ago the measure had 2 supporters on Council.

The original ordinance was amended twice to insert “religious” exemptions and then to eliminate unconstitutional elements which would have created a registry of homophobic religious organizations and specifically permit public funding of discriminatory bodies. The final version, modeled after Philadelphia's ordinance, does allow exemptions but makes no mention of funding which allows compliance clauses to be tied to individual funding contracts.

The debate was heated, but civil rights progress has taken a step forward in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Kudos to the hard work of the many folks who worked on this project.

Now onward to the House Bill expanding the Commonwealth's protections to include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

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