Proposed State Bills Would Harm Freedoms, Not Promote Tolerance and Diversity

Feb 3, 2020 | 6 comments

Everyone should be treated with dignity and respect yet Senate Bill 224, Senate Bill 614 and House Bill 1404 would harm good people.

Protections for religious freedom and privacy rights here in Pennsylvania are in jeopardy with a renewed push to change Pennsylvania’s non-discrimination law through Senate Bill 224, Senate Bill 614 and House Bill 1404.

Laws like SB224, SB614 and HB1404, often described as sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) laws, make it illegal for churches, ministries and schools to hire people who actually believe and live according to church teaching on human sexuality and marriage. These laws also impact privacy rights, opening restrooms, showers and locker rooms to the opposite biological sex in schools, places of employment, and in public accommodations.

“Pennsylvania is already a tolerant state where people are free to think, work, and live according to their beliefs about marriage and sexuality,” says Randall Wenger, Chief Counsel for the Pennsylvania Family Institute. “It is hypocritical to treat those who believe marriage is between a man and a woman as lawbreakers — in the name of tolerance. In a pluralistic society, we must preserve the space for differences without punishing those with whom we disagree.”

SOGI laws have been used to shut down Christian foster care and adoption agencies when such agencies remain true to their religious convictions about marriage and continue their practice of placing children in homes with a married mother and father. The City of Philadelphia targeted Catholic Charities, ending their foster care and adoption ministry in that city, based on Philadelphia’s SOGI law.

“We can all agree that everyone should be treated with dignity and respect. Anti-discrimination laws are supposed to be shields from invidious discrimination, not swords to do the opposite — hurting good people and ministries,” says Tom Shaheen, Vice President for Policy at the Pennsylvania Family Institute.


Take Action: Tell your State Senator and State Representative to oppose these SOGI bills. Click here to send them an email using our Citizen Action Center.