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Pennsylvania

Pa. governor Tom Corbett supports bill to outlaw anti-LGBT discrimination

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Gov. Tom Corbett said Wednesday that he would be willing to sign legislation to outlaw discrimination based on someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity, but he was unprepared to say what he will do, if anything, to try to dislodge such bills that have thus far languished in the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Gov. Tom Corbett (R-Pa.)

Gov. Tom Corbett (R-Pa.)

Corbett’s statement won applause from the bill’s sponsors and a leading gay rights group.

Corbett said he became aware in the last few months that federal law did not cover discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

“I had a presumption that it did. I believe it should, I don’t think there should be discrimination,” Corbett told reporters after a news conference at which he signed bills to overhaul the state’s laws on child abuse.

Corbett, a Republican who is seeking a second term in next year’s election, made clear that he is not changing his support for a Pennsylvania law that bans recognition of same-sex marriage, the only northeastern state to do so.

The gay rights group, Harrisburg-based Equality PA, lauded Corbett for “calling out discrimination in all its forms.”

Pennsylvania law prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodation based on race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, education status or disability.

Bills in the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania state House and Senate would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list. The legislation has gotten a higher profile recently, particularly with two openly gay lawmakers in the Legislature for the first time this year and a wave of other northeastern states recognizing same-sex marriage. However, the attention has not translated into action in Harrisburg, since neither of the House or Senate bills have been scheduled for a hearing or a committee vote.

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Asked about moves he would make to pressure lawmakers to pass t hem, Corbett said he wasn’t aware of a plan, although he said his staff has contacted legislative leaders to apprise them of his position.

In the more conservative House, a spokesman for Republican leaders could not say whether Corbett’s position would prompt them to advance the bill.

“We don’t believe there should be any kind of discrimination against any particular group or association,” said the GOP spokesman, Steve Miskin.

In November, U.S. senators including Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey and Bob Casey approved federal legislation on the topic, but it is expected to die in the more conservative U.S. House.

As of June, 17 states and the District of Columbia have anti-discrimination laws covering sexual orientation and gender identity, the Washington, D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign says. State lawmakers say about 30 municipal and county governments have similar policies.

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25 more reader comments:

  1. So how is he on gay marriage? I hate to be cynical but the gov could be supporting this bill just to put a nice face on his otherwise rightwing agenda.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 4:48pm
  2. That's exactly what is happening. He has LOUDLY vocalized his opposition to gay anything. He's trying to secure votes for the elections.

    Replied on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 9:29pm
  3. I’m suspicious.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 4:52pm
  4. I’d be so fucking amazed if this was true.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 4:53pm
  5. He’s pulling out all the stops to get reelected. Shame it’s probably a mask…

    Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 4:54pm
  6. As a Pa resident, I’m not surprised. This man is scum of the earth and has done everything in his power to destroy this beautiful state and he has the audacity to run for reelection….

    Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 5:04pm
  7. He is being Bombarded by Philadelphians ( We are Gay Friendly City always have been) and( and Other Large Cities in PA) He wants to get on the GOOD Side because elections are coming up . He is playing the Smoke and Mirrors Trick. The Gov Ok’ed Massive “Fracking” in our State also Trimmed so much of The Education budget that Our Kids Have No Art,Music, No Councilors and NO after school activities……He is in my Own words The Biggest FUCKTARD to Walk the Earth!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 5:08pm
  8. ^the same thing our president did. Yea he came out and SAID he supports SSM, but lets face it. He’s done nothing for our community, we’ve fought for our rights by ourselves. He did it for the votes and it worked.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 5:14pm
  9. let him write & pass his new legislation, then hold him accountable at election time

    Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 5:21pm
  10. A right wing agenda isnt about a sexuality bill…its about politics… sexuality is not an ever shifting culture ppl will always be gay or straight or bi…this is about perhaps scoring points
    .. since usa is not a secular country its hard to see bills for same sex love being much about love and more about saving face. Sexuality should never be a liberal thing…its not liberal to have straight rights… liberal ideas covers ever changing culture… many gays are right wing.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 5:23pm
  11. Do not trust this man as far as you could throw him

    Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 5:43pm
  12. Don’t trust him….. he just wants to be re-elected! His policies are bad for all Pennsylvanians! Even his own party doesn’t want him to run for re-election! That says volumes!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 5:45pm
  13. I hate how the titles of these articles are so convoluted. Well, is this a good thing or a bad thing?

    Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 5:56pm
  14. Being a PA resident and a gay woman, this is good news but not when he’s doing it just to get re-elected. He doesn’t belong in the position he is in.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 5:58pm
  15. That’s just messed up! How evil can you be?

    Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 6:25pm
  16. Hypocrite! After fighting marriage equality. What’s this an olive branch well we’ll take it but you’re out next election!!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 6:51pm
  17. Of course he does! He’s been a POS since he took office! I for one cannot wait until his sorry ass is out of office!!!! It can’t come soon enough for me!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 7:31pm
  18. Dear LGBT members of America, if your country doesn’t want you, Canada welcomes you.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 7:57pm
  19. Now come on Mr. Corbett, take another step. It won’t hurt you a bit!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 8:01pm
  20. Now let’s see him put his political pull behind legislation.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 8:42pm
  21. Yeah, Corbett is scum but let him push this through. It doesn’t mean he will get re-elected. I’m not a one issue person so even if this passes, if I were back home in Philly, I still wouldn’t vote for him. Even a scumbag can do a good thing once in a while and as long as no one is fooled or feels that they have to be grateful because one good thing was done, then, said scumbag hasn’t fooled anyone or gotten away with anything.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 9:13pm
  22. He’s full of it !!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 9:41pm
  23. It would be nice if my wife and I were recognized as a married couple here in PA

    Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 9:42pm
  24. That’s why people in the government/ Politicians are nothing but crooks who want nothing but money and power.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 10:19pm
  25. He’s an ass, just like Toomey. Right-wing nut jobs trying to look moderate. The sad thing is that this redneck state will probably re-elect the jerk anyway.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 10:28pm