John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
Newtown Supervisors to Vote on Anti-Discrimination Ordinance

Newtown Supervisors to Vote on Anti-Discrimination Ordinance

The Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) is scheduled to vote on an Anti-Discrimination Ordinance Definition at the November 28, 2018, public meeting. This ordinance was first proposed by Supervisor Mack at the July 11, 2018, BOS meeting (see summary minutes of that meeting here).

UPDATE (11/28/2018): The vote was 4-0 (Kyle Davis was absent) on an amended version: "The term 'housing' shall not include any personal residence offered for rent by the owner or lessee thereof or by his or her broker, salesperson, agent or employee." on page 4 under HOUSING was eliminated. See news item at the end of this post.

The Newtown Anti-Discrimination Ordinance is based on a similar ordinance recently passed by Yardley Borough. Yardley Council member Dave Bria introduced that ordinance in Yardley and made a case for a similar ordinance to be adopted by Newtown in a presentation before the Newtown BOS on September 26, 2018 (see video below).

Currently, there is no federal law that explicitly prohibits workplace discrimination based upon sexual orientation. Twenty (20) states plus Washington D.C. currently have laws which prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Pennsylvania law does not explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and is therefore the only state in the northeastern U.S. not to do so.

This ordinance is even more important now that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is spearheading an effort to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government financial assistance, according to a memo obtained by The New York Times.

Human Relations Commission

The ordinance, a copy of which you can download here, would establish a Human Relations Commission that will handle complaints filed in person at the Newtown Township Building or by mailing such complaints to the Newtown Township Building or to the Chairperson of the Commission. The first step in the process involves inviting the parties to voluntarily participate in a fact-finding conference to resolve the dispute.

Members of the Commission must attend training and education seminars or sessions to acquaint themselves with the functioning of the Commission under the ordinance, as well as the terms, conditions and provisions of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, and the operation of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.

If Newtown Township were to adopt this ordinance, it would nearly double the number of individuals in Bucks County living in a municipality that prohibits LGBTQ - Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning - discrimination.

Posted on 20 Nov 2018, 14:03 - Category: Ordinances

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