We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
SB 42, drafted by Sen. Ferlo, and HB 177, companion legislation drafted by Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Phila.), re-enacts Title 18 language to extend protection under the ethnic intimidation clause of Chapter 27 to include ancestry, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity.
There is a rally today in Harrisburg at 11 p.m. in support of Senate Bill 42 with State Rep. Brendan Boyle and Senator Larry Farnese. Some question why the bill supports expanding the clause of Chapter 27 to include ancestry, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity.
Some believe that these folks included in the bill already have equal rights of protection under the law like every other group. Fact is, they do, however the other fact is that these groups continue to be targeted by the ignorant. Recent events in Philadelphia where a gay couple was attacked by a group of people on a city street and in the State of Delaware where a handicapped man was attacked by another group point to the need for added protection. African-Americans, Ethnic Europeans, Latino Americans and Asian Americans have been attacked in much the same way due to their ancestry and for no other reason. It is important to understand that these events still occur, however, there is a penalty to be paid.
When the liberty of an individual is attacked due to ancestry, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity it is the duty of government to protect their liberty. The extension of Title 18 section 2710 to include them is simply the right thing to do and the penalties for those abusing them are fitting. One can only hope that the penalties will make those who would engage in this type of conduct think twice and leave people be. If they engage in conduct that hinders the liberty of another, a price should be paid, although it is never enough.
What can you do?
Send an email or contact your State Senators and Representatives supporting Senate Bill 42
Find your State Senator here: http://www.pasen.gov/
Find your State Representative here: http://www.house.state.pa.us/
Contact the Governor here: http://www.governor.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/governor_pa_gov/20650
– g emil reutter