Central PA's LGBT News Source

Pennsylvania’s Primary Election is May 15

Erie Gay News provides candidates’ positions

Posted

A voter's guide compiled by Michael Mahler, editor, Erie Gay News provides information on candidates for US Senate and PA Governor. 

According to the guide, all candidates were asked the same questions. Responses were entered as received, without any changes, including correction for typographical errors. 

These were the questions for all candidates:

US Senate Seat

Anti-Discrimination
Do you support the passage of legislation such as the Equality Act, which would protect LGBT individuals from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodation? Please explain.

Robert P Casey Jr (D-Incumbent)

I am a co-sponsor of the Equality Act.

Not Responding: Lou Barletta (R), James J Christiana III (R)

Religious Freedom
Do you support legislation such as the so-called First Amendment Defense Act (introduced in the US Senate in March of 2018) that would allow individuals, government officials or government agencies to deny providing goods and services to LGBT individuals because of religious beliefs. Please explain.

Robert P Casey Jr (D-Incumbent)
While we are a nation that was founded on the rights of individuals to worship as they choose, it is unacceptable to discriminate against individuals or a minority group. Places which provide services to the public should accommodate LGBTQ individuals just as they serve every other person. For example, I signed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in support of this position, as it relates to the Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. This case deals with this issue directly.

I have long been a supporter of the LGBTQ community going back to my days as Pennsylvania's Auditor General, where I instituted the state government's first anti-discrimination policy that covered gender identity. I also called for the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the Defense of Marriage Act, and publicly supported marriage equality before Obergefell vs. Hodges established that same-sex couples had the fundamental right to marry.

One of my proudest moments as a Senator is when I recommended Judge Nitza Quinones Alejandro to serve as a federal judge in the Eastern District of PA. Judge Quinones Alejandro made history as the first LGBTQ Latina to serve on a federal bench. I will continue to actively seek diversity in appointments, in not only gender and race, but also look towards promoting qualified members of the LGBTQ community to positions where they can further enrich our communities.

During my time in office, the LGBTQ community has been a strong partner in fighting bullying in schools, cracking down on hate crimes, and pushing for non-discrimination legislation.

Lou Barletta (R)
[Editors Note: We received no response from Mr. Barletta, but are sharing his remarks about marriage equality:"the Supreme Court has no business redefining the basic definition of what marriage truly is. This ruling undermines the ability of states to govern themselves, and imposes fundamental beliefs from one state onto another." (quoted in PennLive.com June 26, 2015) 

PA Governor

Anti-Discrimination
Do you support the passage of legislation such as the Equality Act, which would protect LGBT individuals from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodation? Please explain.

Not Responding: Laura Ellsworth (R), Paul Mango (R), Scott R Wagner (R)

Paul Mango (R)

[Ed. note: Paul Mango is characteriziing Sen. Scott Wagner's support of the antidiscrimination Senate Bill 1307 as Wagner's "bathroom bill". One of Mango's TV ads asserts "Wagner's bill puts our children's safety and privacy in jeopardy."]

Scott R Wagner (R)

[Ed. Note: Scott Wagner is a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 1307, which would have amended the state's Human Relations Act to include sexual orientation, gender identity/expression to the list of prohibited forms of discrimination in terms of housing and employment]

Thomas W Wolf (D-Incumbent)

Pennsylvania remains one of the only states in the country that does not protect the LGBTQ community from discrimination. From my first days in office, I've urged the General Assembly to pass the PA Fairness Act. This act would add protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to existing bans on discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation.

Despite broad, bipartisan support for the PA Fairness Act, the bills have been blocked from a vote in the General Assembly. In the face of this stalled legislation, I took matters into my own hands by signing two executive orders that prohibit any agency under my jurisdiction, or any entity that receives grants or contracts from the commonwealth from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, gender expression, and identity, and gender identity and expression, among other areas.

I also recognize that the LGBTQ community deserves equal benefits and the same state services as everyone else, which is why I have fought to expand state health care benefits for LGBTQ employees. These protections and benefits will greatly expand the economic and social well being of the LGBTQ community.

I will continue to push for passage of the PA Fairness Act and will explore all other potential avenues to further protect the rights of the LGBTQ community.

Religious Freedom

Do you support legislation such as the so-called First Amendment Defense Act (introduced in the US Senate in March of 2018) that would allow individuals, government officials or government agencies to deny providing goods and services to LGBT individuals because of religious beliefs. Please explain.

Thomas W Wolf (D-Incumbent)

I do not support the First Amendment Defense Act. LGBTQ people have a fundamental right to be protected from discrimination in all areas of life. I am committed to continuing my fight for these protections and I will oppose any legislation that threatens the rights of the LGBTQ community

Long before I was Governor, I stood up for full marriage equality because I strongly believe that government should not be in the businesses of denying two people who love each other the right to enter into a marriage and enjoy the love and benefits that come with it.