Most Read


GOP Takes Over Pennsylvania Town Council—And The First Thing They Do Is Repeal LGBTQ Protections

GOP Takes Over Pennsylvania Town Council—And The First Thing They Do Is Repeal LGBTQ Protections
WHTM - ABC27 News/YouTube

A town is set to be the first municipality in Pennsylvania to repeal anti-discrimination ordinances that protect people based on their sexual orientation, ethnicity and gender identity. The Chambersburg Borough Council voted Monday to rescind the ordinance only four months after it went into effect.

This comes after a conservative majority was voted onto the council.

Chambersburg, a borough in central Pennsylvania became a focal point for conservative activism after the town council passed the ordinance in October. The ordinance provided protections for LGBTQ+ people in addition to people of color.

However, last November, a conservative majority was voted onto the town council.

As soon as they were seated, they held a vote to repeal the civil rights ordinance.

Alicia Elia, the former Chambersburg borough council president, said:

“I don’t know of any reasons for repealing it other than a political move."
"This issue should not be politicized.”
“It’s an issue of justice and having equal protection for everybody in our community."
"It shouldn’t be a political or a Democratic or Republican issue."
"This should be something we are all concerned about.”

In contrast to Elia, Allen Coffman, the new council president, doesn’t think civil rights is an issue.

Coffman believes it’s his duty to vote it out.

“All of us that ran in this election to be on council we think we got a mandate from the people."
"People we talked to when we were campaigning did not like this ordinance at all.”

However, at the council meeting where they voted to repeal the ordinance, more than 50 people spoke out against repealing the ordinance, while only 6 spoke in favor of the repeal.

Pennsylvania is one of 27 states that don’t have explicit statewide laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

The ordinance was ripe for Republicans to rush in and get rid of it.

The community is not taking the ordinance repeal well.

Preston Heldibridle, executive director of the Pennsylvania Youth Congress—an advocacy group for transgender teens—said:

“This goes beyond politics."
"This is a neighborhood issue and we support all those who live, work and choose to raise their families in the borough.”

However, not just LGBTQ+ people benefitted from the ordinance.

It also included protections for veterans and people of color. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf tweeted before the vote, pushing for a statewide act to provide anti-discrimination protections.

Which brings us to the most important thing people can do now—support local elections.

Conservatives have an adversarial relationship with city civil rights ordinances.

Any attempts to protect people are challenged.

A few years back, a similar ordinance in Louisville, Kentucky was challenged by a right-wing photographer, who worried about having to photograph a same-sex wedding. However, in the 20 years of the ordinance, no one ever asked her to shoot a same-sex wedding.