The Abington Township Board of Commissioners voted 10-5 Jan. 13 against a proposed ordinance that would have prohibited LGBT discrimination and created a human-relations commission to investigate complaints. The failure of the Montgomery County municipality’s measure comes after a successful wave of similar ordinances in suburban locales like Haverford, Lower Merion and Doylestown.
The vote was partisan: All Republicans opposed it and all Democrats, including out lesbian Lori Schreiber, voted in favor.
“While the bill was defeated on its first reading, the Board of Commissioners has pledged to revisit this issue and work to pass local nondiscrimination legislation in Abington once they have addressed specific issues in the language of the proposed bill,” said Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission chair Steve Glassman, who attended last week’s hearing. “I have pledged our agency’s support and am more than willing to work with them to craft the best possible ordinance which will protect the rights of all Abington residents, including those in the LGBT community.”
While LGBT and ally advocates outnumbered opponents at the meeting, which lasted until after midnight, Glassman said the language used by the latter was often misleading and offensive.
“We were certainly disappointed by the vitriolic attacks on this legislation by members of the Pennsylvania Family Association, who misrepresented a number of issues related to this ordinance,” he said. “Southern Poverty Law Center has already categorized this organization as a hate group, and it is disturbing to see them as opponents to this legislation everywhere it arises in Pennsylvania. I hope the commissioners in Abington will look beyond the rhetoric and hate speech and see the necessity of passing a local law that will protect the rights of everyone in employment, housing and public accommodations and education.”
Asian summit fundraiser
HOTPOT!, a subset of Queer Philadelphia Asians, will host a fundraising social to generate donations for their participation in an upcoming summit, at 7 p.m. Jan. 21 at 4623 Hazel Ave., on the third floor.
The group, which works to build community among queer Asian and Pacific Islander women, transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, is looking to send eight people to Minnesota next month for the Asian American and Pacific Islander LGBTQ Summit before the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Creating Change Conference, a trip that will cost $4,000.
This weekend’s social will include vegetarian and vegan food, home brews and an opportunity to learn more about HOTPOT!
A $20 donation is suggested.
Center hosts annual meeting
The William Way LGBT Community Center will hold its Annual Membership Meeting at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 22 at 1315 Spruce St.
Center members will discuss the organization’s progress over the past year and hear about upcoming plans. Members will also have a chance to vote on candidates running for the agency’s board of directors.
For more information, call 215-732-2220.
— Jen Colletta