April 7, 2016 at 5:15 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Pennsylvania governor signs nondiscrimination executive orders

Pennsylvania, gay news, Washington Blade

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on April 7, 2016, signed two executive orders banning discrimination. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday signed two executive orders banning anti-LGBT discrimination.

The first order prohibits discrimination against state employees based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, HIV status and other factors. The second mandate bans state contractors from discriminating against their LGBT employees.

“The purpose of these executive orders is to establish policy, procedures and responsibilities for the prohibition of discrimination and affirmation of equal employment opportunity in the commonwealth,” said a press release that Wolf’s office issued on Thursday. “Agencies under the governor’s jurisdiction, employees and applicants for employment in those agencies, and vendors are affected by these executive orders.”

Wolf said in the press release that a bill that would ban anti-LGBT discrimination in Pennsylvania remains stalled in the commonwealth’s General Assembly. He also highlighted North Carolina and other states have recently enacted laws that critics contend allow anti-LGBT discrimination.

“I am taking action to protect those that I can and send a signal to the country that Pennsylvania is open for business no matter who you are or whom you love,” said Wolf. “What happened in North Carolina, and what is going on in other states, should be a call to pass non-discrimination legislation in Pennsylvania now.”

Ted Martin, executive director of Equality Pennsylvania, a statewide LGBT advocacy group, applauded Wolf.

“Today’s executive orders will signal that commonwealth agencies and businesses that contract with the commonwealth are open, inclusive, and competitive in today’s economy,” said Martin in an email to his organization’s supporters.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney also praised Wolf.

“I am proud to stand with Governor Wolf in his fight to end discrimination against Pennsylvania’s LGBT individuals, families and businesses,” said Kenney in a statement. “While the executive orders signed today are an important step, there is still a great deal more to be done before all state residents are afforded the same protections of LGBT Philadelphians. I urge the state legislature to pass comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation.”

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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