HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania state lawmaker has withdrawn his support for a proposed amendment to the state’s Human Relations Act, citing “concerns” regarding use of public facilities for transgender people.
Rep. John Galloway, a Democrat from Bucks County, Pa., had originally signed on as a cosponsor of a measure to expand protections under the Human Rights Act to to prohibit discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations on the basis of “sexual orientation” or “gender identity or expression.”
Galloway told PoliticsPA that he supports “ninety percent of the bill,” but expressed concern over use of public restrooms by transgender individuals.
“I think preventing housing and employment discrimination is a no brainer.” said Galloway. “I do have questions about the transgender issue where it concerns public facilities. I’m not sure how it would affect people who aren’t transgender.”
“I would like to do more research into how this would concern, for example, public restrooms,” he said.
Levana Layendecker, the chief spokesperson for Equality Pennsylvania, a statewide LGBT advocacy group, told LGBTQ Nation on Monday that she believed Galloway and other House lawmakers have come under increasing pressure from conservative religious groups to withdraw their support over the “bathroom” issue.
Article continues belowBut Layendecker noted that the “measure enjoys support from most House Democrats and several Republicans.”
PoliticsPA reported that the “bathroom issue” was emphasized in the Faithful Citizenship blog, which encouraged readers to lobby Galloway and other representatives to drop their support of the bill. So far only Galloway has removed his name from the legislation.
“While it is disappointing to lose a supporter, Equality PA has gathered more co-sponsors than ever before on SB 300 including bi-partisan support,” said Ted Martin, executive director of Equality PA, in a statement to LGBTQ Nation.
“Recent polls show that 70 percent of Pennsylvanians believe that LGBT people should not be discriminated against at work or for housing. We are confident that we have the support in the state to win this important victory for equality,” he said.