Pennsylvania Bill Would Impose LGBT on Religious Organizations

Sep 1, 2016

HARRISBURG, PA – This week the Pennsylvania Senate Labor & Industry Committee held a hearing regarding SB1306, a bill that would force religious organizations to hire and retain employees regardless of their adherence to the organization’s beliefs on sexuality. SB1306 is related to “Governor Wolf’s Bathroom Bills,” all which would add the special statuses of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to all or parts of the current Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.

SB1306 would force employers to open their sex-specific locker rooms, showers and restrooms to the opposite biological sex in places of employment throughout Pennsylvania. This legislation would also make it illegal for religious schools, churches and other religious organizations to only hire employees that agree with the religious organization’s teaching on sexuality, marriage and gender.

Liberty Counsel’s Director of Public Policy, Jonathan Alexandre, presented testimony opposing the proposed law, refuting the intellectually dishonest comparison of sexual orientation and gender identity to race. “Religious organizations in Pennsylvania have the right under current state law to hire people who believe as they do and act consistent with those beliefs,” said Alexandre. “This bill strips that right away from religious employers, using an utterly false and offensive comparison to someone’s skin color. They want you to believe that, if a religious organization didn’t hire such a person, it would be no different than refusal to hire a person because of skin color. This is a lie. The color of my skin is not a feeling or desire. It is not something I can choose to act on or not act on. I simply am black,” said Alexandre.  

“This proposed bill presents a serious threat to religious liberty because it would give the government power to interfere with core religious values of churches and religious organizations,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.