More than a year after they entered the regulatory pipeline, the state’s strongest-ever protections for LGBTQ people are slated to take effect in August. The anti-discrimination rules expand the definition of sex to include sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. Other provisions provide expanded definitions for race and religious creed. Previously, the terms had been largely undefined in the state’s two main anti-discrimination laws, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act and the Pennsylvania Fair Educational Opportunities Act. The laws bar discrimination in employment, education, housing, commercial property, and public accommodations. The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission published the new rules in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. The rules are scheduled to take effect on August 16. State lawmakers, meanwhile, are still hoping to pass a bill called The Fairness Act, which would ban discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on sexual orientation or gender identity, real or perceived.
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