The Johnstown City Council is attempting to amend Ordinance No. 4174 known as the Johnstown Human Relations Ordinance. The amendment would allow “sexual orientation and gender identity or expression” with the purpose of ensuring “equal opportunity and to foster economic growth and prosperity for the inhabitants of the City.” This ordinance, which the city is labeling an “anti-discrimination ordinance,” would affect employment and addresses hiring practices, housing and public accommodations, such as restrooms.
Many residents of Johnstown and neighboring Altoona, as well as organizations in these cities and across Pennsylvania, will voice their grave concerns at a press conference in front of the Johnstown City Hall this Wednesday, March 8 at 5:30 p.m., prior to the scheduled City Council meeting at 6:00 p.m. The Pennsylvania Pastors Network and the American Family Association of Pennsylvania (AFA of PA, www.AFAofPA.org) will lead the press conference.
Gary G. Dull, Senior Pastor of the Faith Baptist Church of Altoona, Vice-President and Executive Director of PPN and Executive Council Member of the American Pastors Network (APN,www.AmericanPastorsNetwork.net), stated in a letter on March 4, 2017 to Johnstown City Mayor Janakovic and Members of the Johnstown City Council, “Many of us who live near Johnstown and across Pennsylvania have deep concerns about this amendment and what we believe will potentially create a negative impact on all of Western and Central Pa. and beyond. We do not agree that such an amendment will advance the prosperity of the city of Johnstown, but indeed bring hardship upon businesses, families, individuals, schools and churches throughout the region which maintain conservative Christian principles by conviction.”
Dull went on to say that, “Proof of economic demise and a breakdown of the traditional family has been documented and seen in states whose cities have adopted similar ordinances. Not to mention the danger to which women and children are exposed as predators take advantage of sexual identity and fluidity choices they would be allowed to exercise.”
In a separate letter to the Johnstown Mayor and City Council, Diane Gramley, president of AFA of PA, commented, “Our first question is, where has discrimination taken place in Johnstown? Have those who have chosen to identify as homosexual or transgender been fired or thrown out of their homes because of this behavior in which they chose to engage? This is not about discrimination of those with immutable or unchangeable characteristics such as skin color or ethnicity. Homosexuals have not faced real discrimination as African-Americans have in this nation – they have not been prevented from voting, forced to drink from separate water fountains or forced to sit at the back of the bus. That is real discrimination…”
“However, in the case of homosexual activists and their allies who are demanding that municipalities implement laws to address a non-existent problem, one must ask what the real reason is behind this push to adopt a ‘non-discrimination’ ordinance. Is it possibly using the force of law to demand that the community accept their lifestyle choice or be punished? Situations in other parts of the country where such ordinances have passed point to this reason. A negative economic impact has followed as freedom[s have] been stifled.”
Dull and Gramley point to consequences in other states around the nation where such ordinances have passed:
- Small businesses have been fined and, in some cases, forced out of business because the business owners do not want to participate in a ‘gay wedding’ by baking a cake, providing flowers or photographing the event. i.e. Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Portland, OR and Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, WA. These business owners knowingly provided services to customers who identify as homosexual, but drew the line at using their God-given talents to celebrate a ‘gay wedding.’
- Day care centers have been forced to hire homosexuals and transgendered individuals.
- Female employees have filed complaints with their employers because men who think they are women use the women’s restroom.
- Under Minnesota’s sexual orientation law, a transgendered person filed suit after West Publishing, a large publisher of legal materials, requested the man stop using the women’s restroom after female employees complained that the man, who dressed like a woman, used the women’s bathroom. After several years of litigation, the employer “won” the legal case, but in the end had to pay significant amounts of money to defend against this claim.
- Salvation Army and Catholic Charities have been discriminated against when such ordinances have passed. (In 1997, the Salvation Army gave up $3.5 million in San Francisco city funding rather than submit to an order for them to offer “domestic partner” benefits to homosexual employees. In Washington, D.C., homosexual D.C. City Councilman David Catania boasted in crude terms in July 2001 about how he threatened Salvation Army officials over their policy on “sexual orientation.”)
- A Chicago area spa is facing down discrimination allegations, after management told a transgendered person she could not use the spa’s men’s shower area. Levi Pine, a Chicago transgendered man, has filed an Illinois Dept. of Human Rights (IDHR) complaint against King Spa & Sauna in Niles, after a manager told her she would have to use a private shower or leave.
- A Portland, Oregon bar has been fined $400,000 because the owner asked “transgendered women” (biological men dressed like women) to stop meeting at his bar because they were using the women’s restroom and running off business.
Recently, the Williams Institute, a homosexual think tank, reported that in the United States, only 1.7 percent of the adult population identify as homosexual, 1.8 percent as bisexual and just 700,000 as transgendered. This same 2013 poll shows that Pennsylvania is among the 10 states with the lowest percentage of those who identify as LGBT at 2.7%.