I am a proud and faithful ally in the battle to protect the civil rights of every Pennsylvanian and American regardless of who they love or who they are.
The LGBTQ community has suffered from senseless acts of violence, employment discrimination, poverty, restricted access to health care, and threats to marriage equality. It saddens me that even now, in the 21st century, people are facing discrimination based simply on their sexual orientation or gender identity, and that there is no federal or Pennsylvania law that protects LGBTQ people from this discrimination. That needs to change now.
While we’ve made great strides, we still have a long road ahead of us. On my to-do list:
- Enact the Equality Act to prohibit discrimination or segregation in employment, housing, credit, education, and federally funded programs. It is critically important to address discriminatory practices in schools that put LGBTQ youth at risk.
- Amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act so that it cannot be misused to justify discrimination on the pretext of religion.
- Oversight and accountability for the Trump administration’s attacks on the rights of transgender people.
- Support legislation banning the Gay and Trans “Panic” Defense, which is a legal defense that excuses violence based on bigotry and ignorance against the LGBTQ community.
- Support legislation to study and address the particular barriers encountered by LGBTQ people of color, in areas such as education, employment, economic insecurity and criminal justice.
I’ve been endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ civil-rights organization, and Equality PAC and I know that with those endorsements comes great responsibility, which I do not take lightly. It’s time that America becomes a real leader in the protection of rights for all individuals. All Americans deserve the same opportunities and the same level of dignity.