RESOLUTION OF THE PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION SUPPORTING THE EXPANSION OF THE PENNSYLVANIA HUMAN RELATIONS ACT TO INCLUDE PROTECTION FOR SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY OR EXPRESSION

WHEREAS, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (“LGBT”) persons historically have been and continue to be discriminated against in employment, housing, and public accommodations;

WHEREAS, thirteen Pennsylvania municipalities and twenty states have already enacted civil rights laws including protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression;

WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association has a long-standing history of support for equal treatment under the law for all citizens of the Commonwealth; and, specifically, of support for equal rights for LGBT persons;

WHEREAS, by Resolutions dated March 21, 2002 and September 30, 1999, the Board of Governors resolved that the Philadelphia Bar Association supports and encourages adoption of local, state and federal legislation to include protections from discrimination on the basis of “sexual orientation” or “gender identity or expression;”

WHEREAS, existing Pennsylvania law provides basic legal protections against discrimination on the bases of race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, handicap or disability, education and the use of a guide dog, but not “sexual orientation” or “gender identity or expression;”

WHEREAS, there is no federal civil rights acts that presently include protections from discrimination on the basis of “sexual orientation” or “gender identity or expression;”

WHEREAS, House Bill 300, Printer’s No. 808, was introduced by Rep. Dan Frankel (D Allegheny County) on March 5, 2009 with a record 79 co-sponsors from both parties and from across the Commonwealth;

WHEREAS, House Bill 300, Printer’s No. 808, would amend the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act to include "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression" as protected classes;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association supports and encourages enactment of an amendment to The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” as prohibited bases for discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations, either as now proposed in House Bill 300, Printer’s No. 808, or otherwise;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association authorizes and directs the Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association to take such steps as may be necessary or appropriate to effectuate this Resolution, including communication of its position to members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly and the general public.

PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: March 26, 2009