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Apr 16, 2012
In the past, I have blogged about the struggle of activists in Abington Township, a wealthy township located above Northeast Philadelphia to pass an anti-discrimination ordinance, however, the dream of being able to say yes to sexual orientation-gender identity protections when the state has said no has now come true.
Late last night, the Abington Township Board of Commissioners passed an ordinance that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, sexual identity or sexual expression. It also establishes a human relations commission.
The ordinance passed 10-5.
Commissioners Richard Gaglianese, Dennis Zappone, John O’Connor, Carol Gillespie and Peggy Myers cast "no" votes. Many in the audience burst into applause following the vote.
All seven Democrats supported the ordinance, including openly LGBTIQ member Lori Schreiber, and they were joined by Republicans Robert Wachter, James Ring, and Carol DiJoseph. As Abington Township does not have a mayor, the bill has become law.
This means that the ordinance passed while the body was under a Republican majority, although Republicans who supported the bill were in the minority (circa 38%), it was enough to put it over the top, plus the fact that the party who is in control of any legislative body controls the agenda and tends to be given much more power than numbers would seem to say.
Perhaps maybe the Republican controlled state legislature and Republican governor here in Pennsylvania should take an example from the bipartisan leadership and bravery shown by Abington Township, although knowing what I know about some of the people in Harrisburg, sadly, I am not holding my breath.
But, still, congratulations, Abington, you deserve it.
-Jordan Gwendolyn Davis