Another Pa. township passes nondiscrimination ordinance


While Pennsylvania residents await a statewide Fairness Act to be passed, another area municipality passed its own nondiscrimination ordinance to protect LGBTQ and other people.

The Upper Moreland Township Board of Commissioners (VIII. A. 4.) on April 1 unanimously passed legislation which calls for “Establishing a Human Relations Commission, and to adopt an official policy of nondiscrimination in Upper Moreland Township, which prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, commercial property and public accommodations within the Township.”

According to the Montgomery County LGBT Business Council, Upper Moreland in now the 21st municipality in the county to pass such an ordinance.

In August, West Norriton (also in Montgomery County) passed a similar ordinance. Human Relations Commissions were established in Norristown in July, and Lansdale in August, to protect people from discrimination on grounds including sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

Montgomery County has the state’s third highest population, after Philadelphia and Allegheny (Pittsburgh) counties, and about 60 municipalities. Upper Moreland is about the 10th most populated.

Philadelphia’s Fair Practices Ordinance has been protecting people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation since 1982 and their gender identity since 2002.

More than 50 municipalities in Pennsylvania have enacted LGBT ordinances.

Last month, state Rep. Dan Frankel’s office confirmed to PGN he has circulated the Fairness Act bill and is working to get the maximum number of cosponsors. Rep. Frankel (D- Pittsburgh) introduced the bill in the last session, but Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler County), as chairman of the House State Government Committee, let the bill die in committee for each of the past four two-year sessions.

— Lenny Cohen