Bishops representing the five Pennsylvania dioceses of the Episcopal Church have signed a joint statement supporting legislation that would ban discrimination in housing, employment and accommodations based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The signers included Bishop Dorsey McConnell of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
The statement notes that the bill also upholds the right of religious organizations to decide whom to hire and which rituals to perform.
The Episcopal Church has ordained openly gay and lesbian bishops and other clergy, and it has authorized liturgical blessings of same-sex relationships.
“The Episcopal Church has struggled faithfully for more than three decades to reform its own discriminatory policies and practices toward LGBT people,” the letter said. “In that struggle we have come to understand what was already obvious to some of our fellow citizens all along: that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are gifts to our families, our friends and our communities. We are richer for their presence, and it is past time for us to acknowledge that we share a common humanity and therefore must be equal in the eyes of the law.”
Other signers were Bishops Clifton Daniel III of the Diocese of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia area), Robert Gepert of the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania and Sean Rowe, who serves the dioceses of Northwestern Pennsylvania and Bethlehem.