On Tuesday, March 10th 2015, a unique conversation took place with some of the Women Leaders of Philadelphia. At the stunning Skyline Room, provided by the Free Library of Philadelphia, friends and members of the IBA listened intently to a wonderful panelist lineup consisting of Nellie Fitzpatrick, Betty Long, J’nelle Clements and Dr. Laura Sicola.
This esteemed panel candidly shared their thoughts and personal experiences relating to the building blocks of fortitude: stories of confidence, tenacity, bravery and resolve filled the room, engaging the attendees and challenging minds. The superb event was organized by our WiB Committee in celebration of Women’s History Month.
The Independence Business Alliance signed on to an amicus curiae brief filed by Morgan Lewis in the United States Supreme Court stating that all couples should have the right to marry. The brief makes a business case for legalizing same-sex marriage across the country.
The IBA is one of 379 employers and employer organizations urging the High Court to consider the burdens imposed on both employers and employees by a fractured legal landscape with no uniform rule on same-sex marriage. The amicus curiae brief was filed in the Obergefell v. Hodges case, and urges the US Supreme Court to affirm a uniform principle that all couples share in the right to marry.
In his budget address on March 3rd, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf took time to mention the LGBT community, calling for laws that would protect LGBT people from being fired from their jobs, evicted from housing or turned away from places of business just for being gay.
“The companies and countries that are thriving in today’s global economy are those that are committed to diversity, inclusion, and fairness,” the Governor said. “All Pennsylvania’s families deserve those same opportunities, no matter what their race, sexual orientation, where they started life, or who they are.”
Equality PA Executive Director Ted Martin applauded Wolf for shining more light on the issue: “We truly appreciate Governor Wolf recognizing that discrimination protections are needed,” he said in a press release. “Most people in Pennsylvania are shocked to learn that people can still be fired from a job, evicted, or turned away from a business just for being gay or transgender. It’s time to update our laws to make sure that all people in Pennsylvania have the opportunity to earn a living and make a better life for themselves and their families.”
The last legislative session saw two bills that would protect Pennsylvania LGBT people from such discrimination: HB and SB 300, in the House and Senate, respectively. Unfortunately, they never made it to the floor for a vote, despite having bi-partisan support and a record number of sponsors. Equality PA notes that new LGBT non-discrimination bills are expected to be introduced in the coming session. The IBA is proud to partner with Equality PA on their Campaign for Fairness and join the fight to end discrimination for all Pennsylvanians.