HARRISBURG - Governor Tom Wolf has signed two executive orders that direct state agencies and contractors not to discriminate against the LGBT community.
The first order directs state agencies under Wolf's purview to not discriminate against employees or job applicants based on a number of criteria, adding sexual orientation and gender expression or identity to that list.
The second forbids state contractors from using discriminatory practices in their courses of action.
“Pennsylvania needs to go on record to proclaim that all people regardless of sexual orientation, gender expression or identity are treated equally under Pennsylvania law,” he said.
Wolf said he was taking action on these executive orders now because state lawmakers haven't done enough to advance a non-discrimination bill.
“This is not the end of the game,” he said. “I am urging the legislature to pass a non-discrimination bill that makes it clear to the world that Pennsylvania is a welcoming place for everyone.”
The move by the Governor isn't without its critics, who say that Wolf overstepped his bounds.
“I don't think it's really necessary for the force of government to come in and tell people how they need to get along,” Michael Geer, president of the Pennsylvania Family Council, said. “The fact is that there's no widespread discrimination existing in this state against the LGBT community.”
Opponents say there are still plenty of questions about how the order could impact faith-based organizations and contractors.
“Will nursing homes be impacted that receive government grants?” Geer asked. “We don't know. The lawyers can't tell and so this is then leaving carte blanche to bureaucrats.”
Governor Wolf says this is the right move to increase business and inclusion in the Keystone State.
“We need to understand that a future that doesn't take non-discrimination seriously is a poor future indeed,” Wolf said. “We can and should in Pennsylvania do better.”