Gov. Tom Wolf signed two executive orders Thursday expanding protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender expression or identity for state employees and employees of contractors doing business with the state.
The executive orders come as the Pennsylvania Fairness Act, which includes similar discrimination protections, continues to be held up in the General Assembly.
“With no sign that Republican leaders plan to free this bill that has broad, bi-partisan support, 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,” Wolf said. “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.
“I call on the General Assembly to swiftly put legislation on my desk that ensures that people throughout the commonwealth – regardless of sexual orientation, gender expression or identity – are treated equally under Pennsylvania law,” added Wolf.
Ted Martin, Executive Director of Equality PA said, “Today is an historic moment as Gov. Wolf signs an executive order that protects all Commonwealth employees and contractors from employment discrimination no matter who they are or who they love. Equality Pennsylvania thanks Gov. Wolf for taking this important step toward achieving equality for LGBT Pennsylvanians.”
Of approximately 270,000 LGBT Pennsylvanians in the workforce, 32% are protected from discrimination in their workplaces, homes, and business services, according to Equality PA. “Comprehensive statewide legislation remains a necessity for achieving uniform and complete prohibition of discrimination across the state,” the organization asserted in a statement.
The first executive order signed today prohibits all agencies under Wolf’s control from discriminating against any employee or applicant for employment on the basis of race, color, religious creed, ancestry, union membership, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, national origin, AIDS or HIV status, or disability.
The second executive order will ensure that all contracting processes of commonwealth agencies will be nondiscriminatory and that all businesses contracting with the commonwealth as well as all grantees should use nondiscriminatory practices in subcontracting, hiring, promoting, and other labor matters.