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On January 14, 2014 from 7pm to 9pm, I was proud to participate in the Twitter Town Hall discussion hosted by Representatives Sims and Schlossberg about LGBT Rights in Pennsylvania. Using the hashtag #PaEquality, members of the PA House fielded questions from Pennsylvanians who want to support updated, more inclusive non-discrimination laws and marriage equality. The overwhelming participation in the #PaEquality Town Hall makes me hopeful that 2014 will be the year the LGBT community of Pennsylvania will have equal protection from discrimination and the ability to marry the person he/she loves.

I posted both questions and suggestions about how to raise awareness and to promote HB/SB 300 (non-discrimination) and HB 1686 (marriage equality) and here are some of the tweets below:

One of my first tweets was "Hi! I'd like to introduce a local non-discrimination ordinance in my borough. Any advice?"

Representative Mary Jo Daley (D-148)
Representatives Mary Jo Daley and Brian Sims suggest contacting Equality PA http://www.equalitypa.org/ for guidance.
Representative Brian Sims (D-182)
Representative Stephen McCarter (D-154)
Representative Stephen McCarter suggests reviewing what other municipalities have put into their non-discrimination ordinances. A list of the 33 municipalities that have passed non-discrimination ordinances can be found here http://www.equalitypa.org/...
Representative Erin Molchany (D-22)
Representative Erin Molchany suggests sharing personal stories to promote awareness. What are somethings you can do build a coalition in your area? I suggest writing a letter to the editor to your local newspaper and blogging in addition to writing letters to Representatives and Senators. My letter to Representative Tim Hennessey can be found here http://limerick.patch.com/...
Representative Kevin Schreiber (D-95)
Representative Kevin Schreiber shared some valuable insight and suggestions:
Representatives Sims and Kim both suggested contacting GOP Representatives who still need to be persuaded to do the right thing.
Representative Patty Kim (D-103)
To find out if your PA Representative is a co-sponsor of HB 300 check here http://www.legis.state.pa.us/...

Is your PA Senator a co-sponsor of SB 300? http://www.legis.state.pa.us/...

It's encouraging that there are so many members of the PA General Assembly who are fighting for LGBT rights, but we cannot forget that there are still opponents of equality like Representative Daryl Metcalfe who need to hear from YOU.

Metcalfe was one of twelve plaintiffs (11 PA Legislators and 1 private company) in a 2004 lawsuit against Robert Seneca and Stephen Stahl of New Hope. What did Seneca and Stahl do to get sued? They went to the Bucks County Register of Wills and applied for a marriage license. http://articles.philly.com/...

In 2013, Metcalfe introduced HB 1349 which would amend the definition of marriage in the PA Constitution to be a union between a man and a woman. His Memorandum on the subject can be found here http://www.legis.state.pa.us/...

What is another way to help change the laws in PA? VOTE IN EVERY ELECTION Closed-minded people like Representative Metcalfe should not be allowed to stand in the way of basic civil rights but somehow he has been re-elected several times. YOUR VOTE DOES COUNT!

Think about it, even if it's a local municipal election, YOUR VOTE MAKES A DIFFERENCE! Where do you think PA House Reps and PA Senators get their starts? Many of them start off as members of Council, Mayors and/or hold various other local government positions. We need to make sure that progressive, open-minded leaders continue to be elected by VOTING!

Finally, keep track of the progress of cases like Whitewood v. Wolf because they are key to helping Pennsylvania join the 17 (18 if the battle in Utah is resolved) other states where marriage equality is legal. https://www.aclu.org/...

If you missed the #PaEquality town hall last night, you can view a feed of tweets with that hashtag, courtesy of GPhilly http://www.phillymag.com/...

Special Thanks to the following Representatives for their leadership:

Sims
Schlossberg
Schreiber
McCarter
M. Daley
Molchany
DeLissio
Kim
Santarsiero
Dermody
Boyle
Painter
J.Harris
Kinsey

Thank you to all Pennsylvania Legislators who have fought for Equality for ALL in the Commonwealth!

Links

http://www.house.state.pa.us/...

http://www.pasen.gov/...

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/

http://www.equalitypa.org/

http://www.me4pa.org/

http://www.phillymag.com/...

http://www.aclupa.org/

The opinion in Egolf v. Seneca http://www.womenslawproject.org/...

Originally posted to RovingBlueDot on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 09:04 AM PST.

Also republished by Pittsburgh Area Kossacks, Philly Kos, DKos Pennsylvania, LGBT Rights are Human Rights, Kossacks for Marriage Equality, and LGBT Kos Community.

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