Debate is democratic

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I lived in state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe's legislative district from elementary school through college. In his district, I got my first job and paid my first bill. The odd thing about my first job or where I lived is that I was protected by law from discrimination. I didn't earn this distinction in the slightest -- I just happened to be born straight, and civil rights advocates fought to protect women from discrimination decades ago.

That legislation took a long and arduous debate before becoming law. Since then, other civil rights debates have arisen, including one that Mr. Metcalfe silenced in the Legislature.

Mr. Metcalfe, it is time to protect LGBT Pennsylvanians from discrimination. It is democratic to debate. It is democratic to listen to all sides then cast your vote. It is democratic even to disagree -- but to disagree, you must first listen. You must hear words that must be spoken. You must, in the deepest respect to the foundation of this country, defend the right for all to speak.

HB 300 protects LGBT Pennsylvanians against discrimination. It makes it illegal to harass, fire or evict them based on how they were born. It is time for Pennsylvania to have this debate. It is democratic to bring HB 300 to a hearing, even if it is defeated. Words must be spoken and those we elected must listen. Will you let them speak, Mr. Metcalfe? Will you listen? Will you let democracy -- let freedom -- ring?

ELIZABETH KIMBELL
McCandless


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