Sharpsburg passes LGBTQ nondiscrimination ordinance, following a failed attempt this fall | LGBTQ | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Sharpsburg passes LGBTQ nondiscrimination ordinance, following a failed attempt this fall

click to enlarge Sharpsburg passes LGBTQ nondiscrimination ordinance, following a failed attempt this fall
Photo: courtesy of Aadam Soorma
Campaign sign in Sharpsburg in support of passing the LGBTQ nondiscrimination ordinance
Last night, Sharpsburg borough unanimously passed a nondiscrimination ordinance that would grant civil rights protections to LGBTQ individuals within the borough. This comes several weeks after the borough council rejected the ordinance 4-3 on its first go around, and after an advocacy effort cropped up in Sharpsburg to campaign for the LGBTQ nondiscrimination ordinance.

Sharpsburg Mayor Mathew Rudzki tweeted last night commemorating the passage of the the ordinance.
In Pennsylvania municipalities without local protections, which includes most of the state, it is still legal to evict or deny public accommodation to people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. (The U.S. Supreme Court recently granted LGBTQ Americans workplace protections, but not housing or public accommodation.)

Allegheny County has offered these protections for years, but many municipalities within the county have opted to localize their protections so discrimination complaints can be submitted to borough officials instead of county officials. Sharpsburg now becomes the sixth municipality within Allegheny County after the city of Pittsburgh, Ross, Mt. Lebanon, Etna and Crafton to pass their own LGBTQ focused nondiscrimination ordinance.

Sharpsburg Council Vice President Adrianne Laing introduced and advocated for the ordinance.

The ordinance passed 7-0 last night, but as local LGBTQ site QBurgh notes, the vote was still a bit contentious. Councilors Joe Simbari and Gregory Domain, who voted against the ordinance in October, complained about receiving complaints about their votes, and alleged that those complaints did not come from Sharpsburg residents.

In October after the initial vote failed, the Steel City Stonewall Democrats, Allegheny County's largest LGBTQ political organization, posted a statement criticizing the council's failure to protect its LGBTQ residents.

Steel City Stonewall Democrats spokesperson Mark Ptak says the organization is thrilled that Sharpsburg has now joined the 65 other municipalities in PA to offer local LGBTQ protections.

“Getting the PA Fairness Act remains our top priority at the state level. Absent that, we rely on our local towns and cities to send a clear signal to their LGBTQ+ residents that discrimination is not welcome,” says Ptak. “We’re thrilled that Sharpsburg has joined the growing list of PA municipalities with a nondiscrimination ordinance — and that with 65 laws on the books, Pennsylvania now has the highest number of LGBTQ+ inclusive ordinances in the nation.”

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