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Rep. Scott Petri Defends ‘Bathroom Wars’ Position, Absence at New Hope Pride Parade

Rep. Scott PetriPennsylvania State Rep. Scott Petri (R-Bucks/Montgomery) Monday defended his decision not to march in the the area’s famed LGBT Pride Parade Saturday, and explained why he co-signed a letter last week assailing a new federal directive to make public schools transgender-inclusive.

Petri confirmed in an interview with the Free Press that he was in attendance at the annual New Hope Celebrates Pride Parade as it began across the Delaware River in Lambertville, N.J., but chose not to march because “there was nobody to march with — no Republicans there, no elected officials — so I turned around and went home.”

“The only choice would have been to march with Democrats, and that I cannot do,” he added.

New Hope resident Petri maintains a “satellite office” in the borough, which is widely-regarded as a bastion of LGBT rights. On May 17, he and 96 other P.A. lawmakers penned a letter to President Obama lambasting his directive threatening legal action against public schools that prohibit transgender students from using restrooms.

“Education is a states’ rights issue,” explained Petri Monday. “I don’t think it’s right to withhold federal dollars if schools don’t follow Obama’s mandate.”

Petri and his colleagues said 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.”

Asked to explain why allowing transgender students greater access to bathroom facilities would encourage adult men to prey on young girls, Petri replied, “The issues of whether it endangers young girls or embarrasses them are potentially out there. Let the local school boards deal with the facilities they have and figure it out.”

But don’t transgender people and students need to be protected?

“I don’t know,” replied Petri. “It depends. Providing accommodations so they feel comfortable — does it mean sharing the same bathroom? No. Going to the the bathroom is the most personal, confidential thing people can do.”

About the author

Charlie Sahner

“Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy." - Einstein


  • I am wondering if Neale Dougherty, who will be running against Rep. Petri in the upcoming Nov. election, marched in the Gay Pride Parade? Perhaps Sue Santori,Pink Flamingo and Kris, could get us an answer.

  • Dear State Sen. Petrie,
    I live in Bucks County and thought you were the representative of our fine Borough: New Hope.
    Since you didn’t respect the population of our fine town & refused to march in our gay pride parade & have made known your objection to trans people having the rights that you enjoy, I think you do not represent our beliefs but rather hold onto your own homophobia & trangender bias & therefore I can only come to one conclusion: you DON’T represent us and should not be allowed to run again.
    Please don’t send me an email thanking me for contacting you, making it doubly certain that you didn’t read an email sent to you so you can continue to hold on to the idiotic thought that we respect you. Not the case. So don’t do it.
    Know that such disrespect for us & OUR VALUES should cost you the lack of respect you richly deserve.

    Yours truly,
    A constituent who would like you gone,
    Sue Santoni
    New Hope, Pa.

  • Petri needs to be kicked out of his New Hope office. He doesn’t know what dignity means. He obviously doesn’t have any friends in New Hope if he couldn’t find anyone to march with in the parade. That says it all. Bye Scott. Stick with your lousy party and continue to be on the wrong side of history and ignore evolving standards of human decency. What a jerk. As a non-transgender person, I have often used the opposite sex bathroom due to lack of facilities to ensure I can pee in complete confidence for my “most personal” bodily function. What a load of crap, literally. Do prisoners have that right? No, they do not. Every day, over 50,000 kids, men and woman have to do their “most personal” bodily function without dignity and protection. Grow up Scott and join the human race.

  • Our very own miniature George Wallace standing on the wrong side of history.

    “During his term as governor, Wallace would receive national attention as he continued to frame segregation as a states’ rights issue, and integration as something imposed upon the South by the federal government.”

    Sound familiar Scott?

    What sorry excuses for bigotry, and sad to see it in a town like New Hope.

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