Public debate in Pennsylvania flares over LGBT legislation

Associated Press

HARRISBURG — A public debate in Pennsylvania is flaring over long-stalled legislation designed to outlaw discrimination based on someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Transgender people and supporters rally Thursday, March 31, 2016, at the state Capitol to fight for the passage of the Fairness Act which would offer protections for LGBT individuals with regards to employment and housing. Amanda J. Cain photo

It’s happening after lawmakers in North Carolina, Georgia and Mississippi passed legislation that critics say would permit discrimination against people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s urging Republican lawmakers to allow a vote on the Pennsylvania bill.

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In recent days, opponents put up a website and highway billboards calling it a “bathroom bill” that would spur lawsuits abolishing gender-specific bathrooms and locker rooms.

They also suggest there’d be more sexual assaults.

On Tuesday, Pennsylvania Competes, a business advocacy group, called the ads a destructive misinformation campaign.

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and the gay rights group Equality Pennsylvania are also criticizing the ads.