How would you feel if you were fired, or evicted from your home just because of your sexual orientation? That is a fear a lot of people face in Pennsylvania and a fear many are trying to eliminate.
“While it’s hard to believe, it’s still legal to fire someone from their job, evict someone from their home, or turn someone away from a business just for being gay or transgender,” said Pennsylvania Equality Communications Director Levana Layendecker.
Pennsylvania is one of 29 states where that kind of discrimination is allowed.
“The notion that we still allow discrimination in Pennsylvania should be offensive to everyone and I think most people don’t realize it’s still aloud and going on,” said State Rep. Mike Sturla.
Rep. Sturla is raising awareness about House Bill 300, if passed it would be illegal to turn away gay or transgender individuals from jobs, housing or decline them business.
“The reality of is there are a whole lot of people still afraid, they are afraid to tell their boss, their co-workers and that’s not a way people should be living,” said Rep. Sturla.
Lancaster Pastor Chris Hart has dealt first hand with a woman who came to him after she was fired because her employers found out she was gay.
“Her passion and energy was invested in this place that would now simply push her away because they learned a small detail about who she is,” said Hart.
“It came as a surprise to our staff and owner that this is even an issue,” said Belvedere Inn General Manager Brandon Hufnagel.
Hufnagel has been in the restaurant and hospitality business for more than 20 years, he says personal feelings aside it’s just bad business to turn away would-be customers.
“To move forward with the mindset that you are going to exclude a portion of the public who can be great for your business just makes no sense to me,” said Hufnagel.
Equality Pennsylvania will continue to spread the word regarding House Bill 300.
Governor Tom Corbett is on the record in favor of the bill. Conservative groups have opposed H.B. 300 from the start when it was first brought up in 2013.