Last Thursday Gov. Tom Wolf signed an executive order making it illegal for grant recipients and state contractors to discriminate in housing, employment and public services based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
This order comes as a response to a bill passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in late March that prevents local governments from passing nondiscrimination ordinances and from opening bathrooms to transgender individuals.
In a statement released Tuesday, Wolf said: “What North Carolina did is wrong, and equally as troubling is the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s inaction on passing non-discrimination legislation in the commonwealth to ensure that all people—regardless of sexual orientation, gender expression, and identity—are treated equally under Pennsylvania law. This fundamental right is essential, and enjoys broad, bipartisan support.”
Wolf said the protections under the order will apply to 79,000 current state employees, however this bill is not extended to all Pennsylvania residents.
As student journalists, allies and engaged citizens, the staff of The Temple News wholeheartedly supports the governor’s new bill, and hopes that eventually our state can extend this kind of protection to all Pennsylvania residents. It’s our duty to make sure members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community feel comfortable and safe enough to use any bathroom they choose and exercise every right they should be guaranteed in Pennsylvania, and on Temple’s campuses.
We believe this kind of protection—not just for state employees, but all residents of Pennsylvania—is fundamental. We stand by Gov. Wolf, and hope that other members of our general assembly will too in taking more necessary action.