Senate Bill 613 & House Bill 1410 are proposed bills in Pennsylvania that would change state anti-discrimination law that deals with public accommodations, housing, and employment by creating the special statuses of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” Laws like these have forced people to either participate in events or messages contrary to their beliefs or face fines and penalties. Laws like these have also made it illegal for religious schools and churches to hire employees that adhere to their faith teachings and have been used to force employers and schools to open sex-specific locker rooms, showers and restrooms to those of the opposite biological sex.
Facts & Sources:
States like Washington have made it clear that these types of laws are vehicles to forcing open such facilities like bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers to members of the opposite biological sex.
- Washington State: In 2006, the special status of “sexual orientation” was added into the Washington Law Against Discrimination. Sexual orientation. “Sexual orientation” is defined to include “heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, and gender expression or identity.” View source
- In December 2015, a new Washington State rule took effect mandating that both public and private entities allow individuals to access sex-segregated facilities—including restrooms, locker rooms, and “facilities where undressing in the presence of others occurs”—according to their preferred gender expression or identity. In other words, public and private entities must allow men claiming to identify as women to use facilities designated for women, and vice versa for women claiming to identify as men. View source
- Handout: Washington State Human Rights Commission – Guide to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and the Washington State Law Against Discrimination
- Maine: In John Doe v Regional School Unit 26, after Superior Court Justice William Anderson ruled in the school district’s favor (November 2012), the State Supreme Court interpreted the legislature’s 2005 amendments which added “sexual orientation” as a special status to the Maine Human Rights Act that prohibits discrimination in public accommodations, educational opportunities, employment, housing, and other areas. The court identified an elementary school as a public accommodation and, “the Court has concluded, as it must based on the statutes, that discrimination in the public accommodations o communal bathrooms is prohibited based on sexual orientation.” View source
- Maine Superior Court Justice William Anderson had ruled in the school district favor in November 2012. “In this case, the school acted within the bounds of its authority in prohibiting [the girl] from using the girls’ restroom; it did not itself harass [the girl] by its actions, and it was not deliberately indifferent to the harassment that [she] experienced from others.” View source
Senate Bill 613 & House Bill 1410 – while not specifically saying “bathroom” – discusses “facilities” and “privileges,” which have been read elsewhere to include restrooms, locker rooms and showers.
- “Public accommodations are places that provide goods and services such as restaurants, movie theaters, hotels, and public schools. If sexual orientation and gender identity were added to anti-discrimination law, then public accommodations couldn’t exclude transgender people from the restrooms that correspond to their gender identity “any more than you could exclude Muslims” from an establishment…In schools, that means facilities such as bathrooms and locker rooms must also be accessible.” View source
- Handout: SB613 & HB1410 impact bathrooms.
Laws like Senate Bill 613 & House Bill 1410 create an environment for lawsuits against people living out their values.
- Seattle’s Gospel Union Mission – This faith-based organization is the most effective and visible homeless shelter in the city of Seattle and in operations for over 85 years. They ask employees to live lifestyles that are consistent with Biblical values. They are now being sued for not hiring a bisexual man. View source
- Barronelle Stutzman – Florist and grandmother Barronelle Stutzman is the sole owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington. She has served and employed people who identity as homosexual her entire career. After she declined to use her creative skills for an arrangement for a same-sex wedding of a customer she had served for nine years, and offered to sell any pre-arranged flowers or items from her store, the ACLU and Washington Attorney General sued her for unlawful discrimination. In February 2017, Washington State Supreme Court ruled against her and, without the US Supreme Court taking on her case, she stands to lose her home, life-savings and business. View source
- Aaron & Melissa Klein – Oregon Court of Appeals upholds ruling against Aaron and Melissa Klein, former owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, that resulted in $135,000 fine and the closing of their family-run bakery. Source: Court ruling, lawyers response
- Handout – The Real Impacts of HB 1410 – SB 613 on People of Faith, Privacy
Use PA Family Council’s Citizen Action Center to tell your State Senator & State Representative to oppose Senate Bill 613 & House Bill 1410: Click here to take action.