Wagner Doubles Down On Open Ladies Rooms — An email has been forwarded to us from Pennsylvania State Sen. Scott Wagner (R-28) in which he doubles down in support of legislation which most feel will mandate opening traditional private places for females in schools and businesses to males claiming to be women.
The bill is SB 974 i.e. The Pennsylvania Fairness Act, which has remained stuck — hopefully permanently — in The State Government committee since being introduced Sept. 8.
Sister legislation HB 1510 remains similarly and thankfully entangled in the House.
Wagner in his missive correctly notes that the bills were introduced before the open ladies room controversy happened and insists it won’t change anything with regard to state law.
That’s naive. Just because Wagner couldn’t see what was coming doesn’t mean the powerful interests who lobbied for the bill didn’t. And how, exactly, does a bill “prohibiting discrimination against LGBT individuals as it relates to . . . public accommodations” exempt public restrooms?
And school locker rooms?
Most troubling, though, is that Wagner, who has generally championed the needs of business, supported SB 974 knowing full-well it expanded “protected classes“.
Being in a protected class does not help one find employment. Just consider the employment rates for those in a “protected class” verses those who aren’t.
This is not due to bigotry. This is due to self preservation. A small business-owner will bend over backwards to avoid hiring a person from a “protected class” because it is exponentially harder to fire one in that class if that person turns out to be a bad employee.
Now, if one has a company that has grown big enough to have its own HR department fully able to keep up with the latest in employment law and do the appropriate record keeping of employee failings some of the risk is mitigated but if one is part of a three-man LLC and has to do the hiring and firing face to face along with a thousand other things, this is the type of government interference that causes ulcers.
As someone who has run a business and who has hired gays knowing full well they were gay — really, Scott where do you think gays are more inclined to seek employment, journalism/advertising or trash collection? — employee sex lives are not an issue for the vast majority of business owners. Show up on time and meet deadlines. Everyone is happy. Special protection does not help anybody yet probably hurts everyone.
And one more thing Senator. The “special snowflake” stuff does not become you. If you think you are being “bullied” or “intimidated” when angry constituents contact you, you probably should stick to trash collection.
Here is Sen. Wagner’s email:
Over the past several months, my office has received hundreds of phone calls and emails regarding my co-sponsorship of SB 974, The Pennsylvania Fairness Act. This legislation would add sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, effectively prohibiting discrimination against LGBT individuals as it relates to employment, housing, and public accommodations.
I have been asked to remove my name as a co-sponsor of SB 974 because of recent events in the news related to how bathrooms are dealt with in other states, as well as President Obama’s recent directive regarding schools and Title IX funding.
Let me be very clear – I will not be removing my name from this legislation. Allow me to explain why.
As an employer and a Pennsylvanian, I believe that everyone should be treated fairly and with dignity.
As an employer, I do not care what your sexual preference is as long as you perform at or beyond the required expectations of your job. The fact remains that without this legislation there are a group of citizens that can legally be fired or overlooked because of their sexual orientation instead of their job performance. This is a step in the right direction to ensure workers are not being discriminated against.
This is why I put my name on this legislation, and this is what I will continue to work toward. The fact that attempts have been made to intimidate me and other supporters of SB 974 to try to get us to remove our co-sponsorships of this legislation and are trying to change the conversation to make it about men in women’s bathrooms should not deter us from our goal.
Cities all across Pennsylvania have had ordinances similar to SB 974 for well over 20 years without a single issue as it relates to bathrooms. From a very practical perspective, SB 974 changes absolutely nothing about the way that bathrooms are dealt with, in spite of claims to the contrary that are full of legalese and references to court decisions from states with laws that are very different from Pennsylvania’s.
I believe that it is critical that we find a way to treat LGBT people with the dignity and fairness that they deserve – that we all deserve. I am equally committed to work with concerned groups to find ways to improve the legislation. If there are valid concerns related to individuals with deeply held religious convictions, we should work to fix them. If there are real, concrete concerns with the way that bathrooms will be handled, we should listen.
What we should not do, however, is completely abandon all efforts to gain fairness for the LGBT community. What we should not do is use fear as a tool to attempt to bully legislators into just giving up on this important issue.
Those of you that know me, know this – I will not be bullied.
I encourage those of you with serious concerns about this legislation to continue to contact me so that we can continue our work on this issue. My staff and I have spent a great deal of time with interest groups on both sides of this issue attempting to find a way to accomplish everyone’s goals, and we will continue to do so.
I know that fellow Pennsylvanians share my commitment to make our great Commonwealth a state that is open and welcoming to everyone, whether that means changing our Human Relations Act or addressing our oppressive tax and regulatory systems.
I appreciate your support, and look forward to continuing the effort to create a better Pennsylvania with everyone.
Wagner Doubles Down On Open Ladies Rooms