John Mack - Newtown Supervisor

Dave Bria Presents Case for Anti-Discrimination Ordinance

At September 26, 2018, Newtown Board of Supervisors meeting

Dave Bria, Yardley Borough Council member, made a case for why Newtown Township should adopt an anti-discrimination Ordinance Definition similar to one enacted by Yardley and Doylestown Boroughs.

The Yardley ordinance (here) prohibits discrimination based on sexual identity in housing, employment, public accommodations, or access to educational institutions. It also prohibits the practice of conversion therapy on children under 18.

Some Facts to Consider

Currently, there is no federal law that explicitly prohibits workplace discrimination based upon sexual orientation. Twenty (20) states plus Washington D.C. currently have laws which prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Pennsylvania law does not explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and is therefore the only state in the northeastern U.S. not to do so.

More than 50 municipalities in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have antidiscrimination ordinances. These ordinances establish a local Human Relations Commission which can hear complaints pertaining to an expanded list of protected classes which includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

Based upon census data, if Newtown Township were to adopt such an ordinance, it would nearly double the number of individuals in Bucks County living in a municipality that prohibits LGBTQ discrimination. This ordinance is also under consideration by the Lower Makefield Township Board of Supervisors.

A 2017 survey from the non-partisan Public Religion Research Institute indicates that a large majority of Americans support anti-discrimination laws to protect the LGBT community. 70% of respondents were found to support the measure, with 72% of Independents, 79% of Democrats and 58% of Republicans showing support.

Bria presented the Board of Supervisors with a 5-page "memo" (here) that details his argument in favor of Newtown adopting such an ordinance. It includes the following:

  • The Current State of Federal and State Anti-Discrimination Laws
  • Municipal Ordinances
  • Public Opinion 
  • Economic Impact
  • Why the Practice of Conversion "Therapy" Should Be Banned
  • An Extensive List of References

Also read "Yardley Borough Passes Local Anti-Discrimination Ordinance, But..." and Listen to this podcast: Dave Bria Talks About Anti-discrimination Ordinances.

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