A Pennsylvania township's decision to pass an ordinance to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation has been hailed as a victory for the area's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, but some have expressed concern.
As ABC 27 is reporting, Susquehanna Township voted 7-1 last week approve such an ordinance, becoming the 26th municipality in Pennsylvania to advance LGBT rights. In addition, the ordinance protects residents from being denied housing or employment based on sexual orientation.
"In the event that we have a person who is being discriminated against now we have mechanism in place to deal with it," said Susquehanna Township commissioner Fred Engle. State law bans discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, disability, and other classes, but bills to extend the ban to sexual orientation, gender identity, and genetic information continually stall in the legislature, Ted Martin, executive director of LGBT advocacy organization Equality PA is quoted as saying.
However, some residents are objecting to the ordinance's ban on discrimination for public accommodations, which allows transgender men and women to use men's and women's restrooms. "My problem with this is not the true [transgender] people...[but] the men out there that will use this to their advantage," area resident Debbie Hawkins Gray is quoted by local CBS affiliate 2 News as saying. "Who's to say that a guy wouldn't put on some women's clothing, being totally straight, and going into the ladies room for their own personal fixation?”