I applaud the eight members of the Allegheny County Council who voted to adopt a countywide nondiscrimination policy ("Allegheny County Council Approves Nonbias Ordinance," July 2). The proposed legislation was debated for a full year, and many constituents were actively involved since the bill's introduction in July 2008.
It comes as no surprise that letter writer Diane Gramley and the American Family Association would oppose legislation aimed at protecting the LGBT community from harm ("What Citizens Want?" Aug. 11). She and her organization also opposed policies that would ensure that gay kids aren't bullied in the public schools in Franklin, Pa.
Members of the LGBT community are our friends and neighbors; in many cases, they're members of our family. Why should they be denied the same rights, protections and opportunities as the rest of us?
County Councilman Jim Burn had it right when he said that this is about "everybody getting a fair shake." The majority of Pennsylvanians understand that sexual orientation and gender identity have nothing to do with putting in a good day's work. They're also fed up with this same, tired rhetoric that seeks only to scare and divide us for political gain and does nothing to contribute to a meaningful public debate on important policy issues.
The members of council who voted for Bill 4201-08 understood that their constituents put them in office to make tough decisions and work for the good of all their constituents. They did that in taking this important step to ban discrimination, and I thank them for it.