As a former member of Allegheny County Council and now Allegheny County's chief executive, Rich Fitzgerald has long been an advocate for the LGBT community. He has supported the creation of the Human Relations Commission, campaigned on his support from the LGBT community and extended same-sex domestic partner benefits in the county.
Currently, Pennsylvania is the only state in the Northeast that doesn't have marriage equality or civil unions. A Franklin & Marshall poll taken in May showed 54 percent of state voters polled support marriage equality. As the leader of the largest county in Western Pennsylvania, it's time for Mr. Fitzgerald to step up and advocate that the Legislature take up this issue now before it becomes a real economic disadvantage.
According to former Carnegie Mellon University professor Richard Florida, author of the book "The Rise of the Creative Class": States that recognize the rights of gay and lesbian households "provide a signal to other people that those are the kind of places that they want to be in. For many highly skilled, highly educated people, this is a nontrivial factor in decision making."
The trend toward greater fairness and equality for our LGBT family members, friends, co-workers and neighbors is now. It's time for Mr. Fitzgerald to stand on the right side of history and do what's best for Allegheny County and Western Pennsylvania.
GARY VAN HORN