While society has knocked down many barriers erected by prejudice, discrimination against gay people remains a stubborn holdout, perhaps not as overt as in the past but still insidiously present. Often, it wears the cloak of moral superiority to hide its ugliness.
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act prohibits acts of discrimination based on a variety of factors such as race, color, religious creed, ancestry, age, sex, national origin, handicap or disability. But it is silent on protecting people singled out for unfair treatment in employment and other areas because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Last week, state Rep. Dan Frankel of Squirrel Hill, the chairman of the Allegheny County Democratic delegation, introduced House Bill 300 to rectify that unjust omission. The bill has 79 co-sponsors, nine more than it did when first introduced in the 2007-08 session.
Critics will raise the usual narrow-minded concerns born of intolerance but this legislation isn't about pursuing a homosexual agenda or giving gay or transgendered people special rights. It is about giving a group often discriminated against equal rights. It is about fairness and common sense. The General Assembly needs to pass HB 300 and show that this commonwealth stands up for all its citizens.