What Fresh Hell Is This?

September 23, 2011

Daryl Metcalfe on Fairness

On his campaign website, State Representative Daryl Metcalfe writes:
The founders of our great nation sacrificed to give us a Constitutional Republic as our form of government, and intended for us to prosper in a free market economy. A common theme in our U.S. and State constitutions is that the primary purpose of government is to ensure justice, by protecting the life, liberty and property of the individual citizens of our nation and states. Our government's role was intended to be that of a servant and not a master. Government, with its tentacles of departments and programs, has cast the rights of the individual citizen aside to pursue its own agendas. Government must be downsized, restructured, and brought back to its assigned Constitutional role of protecting the rights of the individual. It should ensure justice so that the people of the Commonwealth may enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Certainly tinged (ok more than just tinged) with conservative talking points, but the overall idea in the above paragraph is found in those last two sentences; that government's function is to protect the rights of the individual so that they may enjoy life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Great idea, no question.  It's good that Representative Metcalfe feels so strongly about it.

But it's not for everyone, it seems.

On Tuesday, Amy Worden of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Can I call it the "Inky"? Everyone else seems to.) wrote:
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act has long banned discrimination in employment and housing on the basis of gender, race, religion, and disability.

Not covered, however, is sexual orientation or gender identity.

State Rep. Dan Frankel (D., Allegheny) has waged a nearly decade-long fight to change that through legislation that would add gay, lesbian, and transgendered Pennsylvanians to the protected categories.
There's more info on the meeting here:
The House Democratic Policy Committee heard from legal and business experts today regarding the impact that discrimination is having on Pennsylvania businesses and local governments and how legislation (H.B. 300) could positively impact the state, according to committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster.

State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, requested the hearing and served as its co-chair. Frankel has introduced House Bill 300, which would protect people from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation based on sexual orientation and gender identity, in the past two legislative sessions.

"In recent polls Pennsylvanians have made it clear that discrimination of any kind is unacceptable in our Commonwealth," Sturla said. "The wave of support is growing across the state in favor of measures like House Bill 300. Representative Frankel has been an outspoken advocate for equality in our state and today’s hearing was essential in exploring some of the elements of his bill."
And that poll data? For that we turn to Tracie Mauriello of the the P-G:
The majority of Pennsylvanians support his effort, according to poll data released this morning by Equality Pennsylvania. Statewide, 69 percent support legislation banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace, public housing and public accommodations, according to the poll. Meanwhile, 24 percent oppose such legislation, 6 percent are undecided and 1 percent refused to answer.
Here's HB 300 in the event you wanted to see it.

Let's close the loop on this. Back to Worden at the Inky:
Despite 64 legislative cosponsors and polls suggesting the majority of the public supports his proposal, Frankel's bill will likely not even get a hearing in the GOP-controlled House.

His bill passed out of the State Government Committee last session, but failed to get a full House vote even when Democrats controlled the chamber.

Obstacles loom larger this session, given the fact that the Republican chairman of the committee that would consider the bill is opposed to it.

Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R., Butler), the chairman of the State Government Committee, said there were "laws on the books" to protect individuals against discrimination and charged Frankel with attempting to advance a far-left agenda.

"Trying to add additional behaviors to the act would be endless," he said. "Rep. Frankel's obsession with putting sexual behavior into law is offensive to people."
Looks to me if the "laws on the books" were enough, then there'd be no need for Frankel's bill.  And, of course, it's interesting to see that when the bill mentions (as it does) "actual or perceived" sexual orientation or gender identity, Daryl Metcalfe only hears "sexual behavior".  And, of course, it's those "behaviors" that offend him.

Either way, it's obvious that Daryl Metcalfe wants the guv'ment to protect the rights of the individual, just not every individual.

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