The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act currently doesn't protect the LGBT community from discrimination. To change that, state Rep. Dan Frankel (D-Squirrel Hill) recently re-introduced legislation, House Bill 300, to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.
This isn't the first time you've introduced this bill. What's held it back?
A pro-life group of legislators, who are very active on civil-rights issues like gay marriage, are very well organized and able to [apply] pressure on Democratic leaders not to run the bill.
Last session the bill made it out of the State Government committee [before being referred to another committee, where it died]. Where does it stand now?
We're back to the drawing board and I'm completely realistic of [the challenges in a Republican-led House]. The bill has again been referred to the State Government committee, which is Republican-controlled by -- lo and behold -- Rep. Darryl Metcalfe, who wears his right-wing extremism on his sleeve.
If you don't think it's going to pass, why bother with it? Especially with the proposed budget cuts, and conservatives targeting social issues like abortion?
Sooner or later, it's going to happen. There has to be something, as we go into the next election cycle, that people can ask people running for office, "Where do you stand?" The rest of the country is moving in this direction. Those who are more on the progressive side of the political spectrum are going to be playing a lot of defense [for the rest of the year]. It's important to show this is not just a defensive posture for those of us who believe in civil rights.