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LGBT advocators call for anti-discrimination bill

By Rosa Duarte, Reporter, RDuarte@wfmz.com
Published On: May 27 2014 09:12:20 PM CDT
Updated On: May 28 2014 05:11:29 AM CDT

It's been a week since a federal judge reversed Pennsylvania's stand on same-sex marriage and activists and legislators alike are saying one more step is needed in order to complete the path to equality for the LGBT community.

It's been a week since a federal judge reversed Pennsylvania's stand on same-sex marriage and activists and legislators alike are saying one more step is needed in order to complete the path to equality for the LGBT community.

Right now Pennsylvania is the only state that has legalized same sex marriage without passing a law protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination.

“So couples that can now marry could get fired for putting their wedding photo on their desk at work. We're working on that next, hoping to pass some legislation that would protect them,” said Molly Tack-Hooper, staff attorney for the Pennsylvania ACLU.

Currently state law protects people from being discriminated against based on gender, age, religion, race, ethnicity and nationality but not their sexual orientation.

That means it's perfectly legal for any employer, business or person to discriminate against a gay person in Pennsylvania, unless the local municipality has passed a law stating otherwise like Bethlehem, Easton and Allentown.

Now, both the senate and the house are considering legislation to make it illegal to discriminate against gays and lesbians across the board.

“We have a lobbyist who's working on this and we're also collecting support across the state, urging people to get a hold of their legislators and way in support of non-discrimination legislation,” said Tack-Hooper.

However even if such legislation is passed there will be exemptions.

“A religious exemption would mean that the Catholic church doesn't suddenly have to marry same sex couples if it's religious beliefs don't comport with that,” Tack-Hooper said.

Close to half of the members in both the Senate and the House support the legislation.

Calls to legislators who aren't in favor of the legislation were not immediately returned.