Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Conshohocken Passes Human Relations Ordinance

Conshohocken has joined a number of other communities in the Commonwealth and passed an ordinance stating:

According to language in the bill, the borough “finds that it is of high public importance to adopt appropriate legislation to ensure that all persons, regardless of actual or perceived ethnicity, race, color, ancestry, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity or expression, martial and familial status, age, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability, use of guide or support animals or mechanical aids and/or source of income enjoy the full benefits of citizenship and are afforded equal opportunities for employment, housing, public education and public accommodation.”

For more information see "Conshohocken council passes Human Rights Ordinance," by Jenna DeHuff Times Herald (4/22)

I wrote a longer post on this general topic in January. So far every township that has considered such an ordinance has passed it except Abington; Hatboro's council passed the ordinance but the mayor vetoed it. The race is on to be the last community in Pennsylvania to recognize the rights of all its citizens.


Anonymous said...

Jane -

For many, gender identity and orientation are also moral issues. Do people and insitutions no longer have the right to make decisions based on character?

And trying to eliminate all forms of discrimination is a futile exercise, especially at the local level. Missing from the list - those who are not hired or passed over for promotion, not elected to office, denied some other opportunity because they are short, overweight, or not attractive.

AboveAvgJane said...

I'm not sure what you are suggesting -- do you think all gays and lesbians have a poor character or would be bad employees or tenants? All of them? And for solely that reason?

It is impossible to eliminate all forms of discrimination. We all have prejudices -- we might give hiring preference to one candidate because he or she went to the same college we did or because we like the suit one candidate wore to the interview more than another candidate. But what these laws do is say you cannot refuse to hire or rent to someone because of his or her sexual orientation, race, etc. It used to be a fairly common practice to refuse to hire or rent to people because of their race but, by and large, we've moved past that. This is another thing to move past, and the ordinances often have exceptions for religious organizations and for very small businesses.

As someone who fits into at least one, and possibly all three of the categories you mention in your last sentence, there probably are times when people are not hired, promoted, etc, for those reasons. In my younger years I was told I wasn't given a job because of my height (and then underweight status). It was a job that required some physical heft and other candidates were more muscled than I was. But if they hadn't hired me because I was a Methodist or because I was straight, then there might be problems.

You also put "not elected to office" on your list -- there are gender quotas for state party committeepeople (I think) but otherwise people are free to vote for whomever they wish, based on whatever criteria they please.

It's the hiring, renting, etc., things that these ordinances cover.