Apr 19, 2015

Philadelphia Mayor, Council Issue Statements Supporting LGBT Rights

Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter issued the following statement regarding his support of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered rights and against the passage of “Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA)” laws across the country:

“In recent weeks, we have been reminded time and time again that not all men and women are treated equally in the United States. A report by the Human Rights Campaign issued last month showed that across the country, more than 85 anti-LGBT bills have been introduced in state legislatures. Of those bills, two Religious Freedom and Restoration Acts have passed: one in Arkansas and one in Indiana. These bills, which have been the focus of much debate and media attention, hide prejudice behind claims of religious freedom and endorse discrimination rather than support the rights of all Americans.

I look forward to a day when mayors no longer need to take individual action to protect the rights of citizens, but until that day we must continue to take action. Cities cannot allow the rights of its residents to be trampled by the wishes of a few close-minded individuals. I want to encourage mayors and citizens to stand together against this kind of discrimination and work together to ensure that all men and women are treated equally.

Philadelphia is a city founded on the tenets of acceptance, diversity, tolerance and religious freedom. We have, for hundreds of years, worked to ensure every citizen and visitor experiences a welcoming city, the true embodiment of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.

And over the last 30 years, our city has built a tradition of equality for all, no matter a person’s religion, race or orientation, amassing strong policies and protections for our LGBT community, like trans-inclusive healthcare and life-partner recognition. For our commitment to fairness and support of LGBT rights, the Human Rights Campaign ranked us the number one city for LGBT equality two years in a row. We are proof positive that cities can support, embrace and protect LGBT rights even when its state does not.”

In addition to the Mayor’s statement, Councilman Mark Squilla on Thursday released an open letter signed by all members of City Council and Mayor Michael A. Nutter inviting persons affected by anti-LGBTQ “religious freedom” laws to visit or relocate to the City of Philadelphia.

A number of anti-discriminatory and inclusive laws and regulations passed by Philadelphia City Council have earned the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection a No. 1 ranking on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index.

“The principles of life, liberty and equality are deeply rooted in Philadelphia, which has long been a welcoming destination for LGBTQ people despite a less progressive environment elsewhere in the Commonwealth,” said Councilman Squilla, referring to a version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that is law in Pennsylvania. “The national outcry over RFRA in Indiana and Arizona make it clearer than ever that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identification is 100 percent un-American.”

Councilman Squilla’s letter encourages all persons, businesses and industry conventions affected by RFRA laws to visit and even permanently relocate to Philadelphia. Councilman Squilla, whose district includes the Gayborhood, further encourages elected officials supportive of RFRA to visit historically significant landmarks such as Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell for “a refresher course” on the principles in which American democracy is rooted.

“We are Americans -- we vote with our ballots, our feet and our dollars. Polls show Americans overwhelmingly support equality for all. No LGBTQ person should have to endure discrimination because a few misguided elected officials decided it was OK,” added Councilman Squilla, a board member of the Pennsylvania Convention Center and the Reading Terminal Market. “Pope Francis is coming to Philadelphia in September, and the Democratic National Convention will be held here in 2016. Philadelphia is the place to be – for all people, no matter what their color, where they come from, or who they love.” -Source: Gayly

The letter can be read online here.

No comments:

Post a Comment