Feeling unwelcome in another state because of a "religious-freedom" law? Philadelphia's mayor and all 15 City Council members — who penned an open letter Thursday in further protest of the discriminatory Religious Freedom Restoration Act-styled laws — want you to know that Philly will show you the brotherly love and sisterly affection you deserve.
Councilman Mark Squilla, who represents the Gayborhood, drafted the open letter, which reiterated sentiments Nutter expressed in a statement Wednesday.
“On behalf of the City of Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, we wish to extend a warm welcome to Americans who have been made to feel unwelcome in the 20 states, most notably Indiana and Arkansas, where controversial 'Religious Freedom Restoration Act' laws have been enacted,” read the opening statement of the letter. “Despite the existence of an RFRA law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia continues to lead the nation by providing necessary civil-rights protections for all of its citizens.”
The letter, posted on Scribd.com, goes on to tout Philly’s top spot on Human Rights Campaign's Municipal Equality Index, its burgeoning restaurant scene and world-class museums, among other attractions.
The letter also points to how far city officials have gone to make Philly a safe and welcoming place for LGBTs — especially in light of other cities that are attempting to roll back protections. Philadelphia enacted its gay-rights bill in 1982 and two years ago was the first in the nation to offer tax credits for companies that offer trans-inclusive health benefits
The Council letter added that lawmakers championing "religious-freedom" laws are encouraged to visit "Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell or the National Constitution Center for a refresher course on the religious persecution this country was founded to escape."
“Philadelphia stands strong on the issue of equality yesterday and today," said Philadelphia's director of LGBT affairs, Nellie Fitzpatrick. "Seeing our city government unified against discrimination is a powerful message. Thank you to every member of City Council and to Mayor Michael Nutter for your continued commitment to true equality. I am proud to be a citizen, and of service, to this great city. We have work to do and together we can get stuff done."
To read the full letter visit, http://www.scribd.com/doc/261282784/Philadelphia-s-City-Council-Mayor-Sign-Open-Letter-to-Anti-LGBTQ-States.
From our media partner PGN