HRC Blog

Philadelphia City Council Passes Landmark LGBT Equality Bill

In a 14-3 vote, the Philadelphia City Council today passed a landmark and far-reaching LGBT equality bill.

Introduced by Councilman Jim Kenney, the bill creates a tax credit incentive for businesses that change their policies to allow the families of LGBT employees – same-sex partners and their children – to enroll for family health benefits. The bill offers a similar tax credit to employers who offer transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits to their employees.

In addition, the bill makes a series of revisions to the Philadelphia Code to provide for equality of treatment for all Philadelphians regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.  It makes city forms gender neutral and makes it easier for transgender individuals to request name changes and gender markers on some records; it also requires gender-neutral bathrooms in city-controlled buildings and provides for access to bathrooms to be based on gender identity. It ensures that people who work in Philadelphia will able to dress consistently with their gender identity, and it bans healthcare discrimination against non-union transgender city employees. The existing provisions relating to Life Partnerships were revised and expanded.

Brian Sims, Pennsylvania’s first openly gay state legislator, was on hand and praised the Council for championing equality. Read his remarks here.

Philadelphia received a perfect score on the 2012 Municipal Equality Index, a nationwide evaluation of the LGBT inclusiveness of municipal law and policy. Philadelphia was one of eleven cities to rate 100 points on the 2012 MEI.  For more information about the Municipal Equality Index and to see Philadelphia’s full-length, detailed scorecard, click here.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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