FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 20, 2004
CONTACT: Diane Gramley 1.814.271.9078 or 1.814.437.5355
THE GRINCH STEALS CHRISTMAS AS SCRANTON CITIZENS SHOP
(Philadelphia) -- On December 8, 2003 the City Council of Scranton, Pennsylvania unanimously voted to add the words "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to their Human Relations Ordinance. The American Family Association of Pennsylvania (AFA of PA), a statewide traditional values group, is accusing the City Council and Mayor of political maneuvering and not having the best interest of the City in mind.
"The City Council has made a misguided decision and extended special rights to a very small percentage of Scranton residents who choose to engage in abhorrent sexual behavior. How many churches or charitable organizations which receive even a minute portion of government funds know that they must now employ homosexuals and cross-dressers including those who are just perceived to be? " Diane Gramley president of the AFA of PA asked today.
"And, yes, the question must be asked -- which restroom will transsexuals be permitted to use?" continued Gramley.
According to the Scranton Times December 15 article the ordinance is "now up for approval by City Council." But a phone call to City Hall that day revealed that the ordinance had been voted on and passed the week before. The ordinance passed on December 8th, the mayor signed it on December 9th, and it went into effect immediately.
'Scranton's Home Rule Charter gives the Mayor ten days to sign or veto an ordinance and approved ordinances are to become effective within thirty days unless stated otherwise in the law. Why the rush to get the Human Relations Ordinance pushed through right before Christmas? The timing is highly suspect," asked Gramley.
By the time most citizens in Scranton learned after the holidays of the new provisions in their Human Relations Ordinance it was too late. The Home Rule Charter provides only 30 days to gather names on a referendum petition to give all voters in Scranton an opportunity to voice their opinions on the issue. Thus the political moves of the Scranton City Council and the mayor have effectively denied the citizens a voice in the matter of extending special rights to a group based on their sexual practices, not unchangeable characteristics. Something the citizens are sure to remember when it is time to elect new city council members and a new mayor.
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