At a campaign event in Zelienople, Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner told attendees that he supports a bill to provide LGBTQ civil rights protections that they don’t currently have statewide. For example, people in many parts of Pennsylvania can be fired or evicted for identifying as LGBTQ.
“I do not discriminate in my companies,” says Wagner in a video. Wagner owns and operates a waste-management business. “I don’t believe anyone in this room believes in discrimination.”
However, following that statement, he says he would not sign nor promote a so-called “bathroom bill.” This all encompassing term typically applies to any legislation or policy that allows transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender of which they identify.
“It's real simple,” says Wagner in a video first reported on by Gay Star News. "If you're born with male plumbing, you use the men’s room. If you're born with female plumbing, you use the ladies’ room. Period.”
The Pennsylvania Fairness Act, of which Wagner was a co-sponsor before he resigned from his state senate seat in May, provides LGBTQ individual the same rights that are given to all other Americans under that National Civil Rights Act of 1964. While the Fairness Act does not require entities to construct new facilities to accommodate LGBTQ individuals, it does state everyone has the right to “obtain all the accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of any public accommodation.”
According to the Civil Rights Act, public accommodations include hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, gas stations, and other facilities. Private clubs and religious institutions are excluded from this list.
Basically, Wagner's statement about trans people bathrooms contradicts his support for the an LGBTQ non-discrimination law.
The Human Right’s Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ organization, condemned Wagner’s remarks.
“Scott Wagner’s dangerous remarks show an alarming disregard for fundamental human decency,” said HRC spokesperson Chris Sgro to Gay Star News.
Wagner spokesperson Andrew Romeo said in a statement that Wagner has a "record of standing up for the LGBTQ community.” Romeo then attempted to walk back Wagner’s remarks about trans people using the bathroom.
“If someone transitions and goes through the appropriate steps consistent with the executive orders that have been put into place by GOP and Democratic governors regarding changing the gender on drivers’ license, then [Wagner] believes they should use the bathroom that matches their identity,” said Romeo. “What [Wagner] doesn’t support is a declaration outside of the set policy that would allow people to circumvent privacy and protections.”
Earlier this week, Wagner found himself in hot water for saying he would consider signing legislation to ban same-sex marriage. (Something that would seem dead-on-arrival, considering the U.S. Supreme Country 2015 ruling in favor or the right for same-sex couples to marry).
A day after that story broke, Wagner walked back his comment and said he would veto any bill that would attempt to strip same-sex couples their right to marry.
Wagner faces Gov. Tom Wolf (D-York) in the general election on Nov. 6.