Pennsylvania State Rep. Scott Petri (R-Bucks/Montgomery) decided not to march with other local politicos from Lambertville to New Hope Saturday in the the area’s famed LGBT Pride Parade after last week bashing a new federal directive to make public schools transgender-inclusive, say sources close to the situation.
Petri ‘s office did not respond to requests for comment.
New Hope resident Petri, who maintains a “satellite office” in the borough well-known as a bastion of LGBT rights, just days ago co-signed a letter with 96 other P.A. lawmakers to President Obama lambasting his directive threatening legal action against public schools that prohibit transgender students from using restrooms.
Petri and his fellow co-signers believe the administration’s move to protect transgender students is “an unconstitutional intrusion by the federal government into an area that should be and is legally handled locally by school districts who best know their students and parents.”
Petri and his colleagues went on to say in their May 17 letter, “At its core, the [Obama] letter sacrifices the fundamental privacy rights associated with intimate bodily functions for millions of school students. Plainly, this directive will allow men to go into legally sex-separated bathrooms with young girls. The parents of these young girls are rightly concerned about your policy and its implications for their daughters’ safety.”
Ted Martin, executive director of Equality Pennsylvania, the state’s leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) political advocacy organization, was clearly appalled by the remarks.
“Its astonishing to me that Rep. Petri wouldn’t be talking to the people he represents before he signs on to a letter like that,” he said.
Martin and other LGBT rights advocates have been critical of the recent “bathroom wars” hoopla, saying it represents a red herring that distracts voters from more serious issues involving LGBT rights.
“Fourteen years ago, New Hope Borough Council unanimously passed a landmark comprehensive ordinance protecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community relating to housing, employment and public accommodations,” said LGBT activist and former New Hope Borough Council Member Geri Delevich. “The state of Pennsylvania still does not have such protection for its LGBT community. New Hope protects its LGBT family and those elected officials who represent New Hope should be aware of our commitment to equality for all.”
Petri‘s satellite office is located at 123 W. Bridge St., and is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; (215) 862-1940.
[Updated 10:30 p.m. to reflect additional corroboration. Headline updated 11 p.m. Updated to include Delevich remarks 11:59 p.m.]