FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(PHILADELPHIA) Thursday March 19, 2015 – Today, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown introduced a bill in City Council to make permanent the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs, co-sponsored by all Councilmembers.
The bill requires a change to the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter and must be passed by City Council, signed by the Mayor and then must be ratified by voters in the November general election. The ballot question would read as follows:
“Shall The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to establish and define the functions of the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Affairs, headed by a Director of LGBT Affairs?”
“Philadelphia has an international reputation as a City that both celebrates diversity and has no tolerance for intolerance. This bill offers the LGBT community a permanent seat and voice at the table,” said Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown. “To a community who too often faces discrimination, it is imperative for them to have a direct line to the Mayor and City Council. Making this office permanent sends a continued message that, while we have more work to do, we are absolutely up to the challenge.”
“When I became Mayor, I was proud to establish the Mayor’s Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Affairs and appoint the late Gloria Casarez as its first Director,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “Making this Office permanent under the City of Philadelphia charter ensures that the LGBT community will continue to be represented in City government, and that the good work done to advance LGBT issues over the last seven years will carry on well into the future.”
“I am extremely proud of the bill introduced today by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, and grateful for her continued dedication to making Philadelphia a city that values and protects all of its citizens,” said Helen Fitzpatrick, Director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs. “Today’s bill is an opportunity for Philadelphia to continue to lead the nation toward equality for all. The bill represents far more than a change to the charter. It symbolizes our ongoing commitment as a City, and as a society, to the equal and fair treatment of our LGBT citizens.”
Councilwoman Reynolds Brown has a track record of introducing and securing passage of legislation that positively impacts the LGBT community, including a 2011 bill to require city contractors to offer domestic partner benefits, a 2012 resolution that led to the removal of gender stickers from SEPTA trans passes which were of great concern to the transgender community and the 2014 Hate Crime Bill of which she was the lead sponsor. The bill will have a hearing in City Council’s Committee on Law and Government.
For additional information please contact Communications Manager Jason Lewis at 215-686-3438 or 267-250-2925.
Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown has passed meaningful legislation and supported valuable community programming that positively impacts her core issues: children and youth, women, education, small business development, arts and culture and the environment and sustainability. Councilwoman Reynolds Brown is the only woman to win an At-Large Council seat since 1999.