“As I stand here I could be fired from my job in the state of Pennsylvania for being gay,” said the voice from the podium inside the capital dome. Those words were spoken by Stephen A. Glassman, chairperson of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.
Although self-employed and appointed to the commission post as an openly gay man by Gov. Ed Rendell, it is unlikely Glassman would be fired. Nonetheless his words resonated among the 300-plus citizens who gathered to shout “Pass this bill” as 13 speakers addressed the state’s lack of employment civil rights for gay people. The measure is House Bill 300 that calls for protecting people who live or work in the state from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression in employment, housing, credit and public accommodations.
In all, there were 13 speakers at the podium, among them Philadelphia-based activist Jake Kaskey from Value All Families; the measures prime sponsor Rep. Dan Frankel; Rep. Babette Josephs; and Rev. Timothy Safford, who serves at a church on whose grounds seven signers of the Declaration of Independence are buried.