After failed legislative efforts to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to state discrimination law, a Pennsylvania state agency is seeking to read those categories into law by executive fiat.
State capitals across the country are proving they are not immune to the malady that has afflicted the policy process in Washington.
The latest case in point: Pennsylvania.
In a quietly released statement issued late on a Friday afternoon, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, an agency of the state government, announced a proposal to effectively redefine the word “sex” in the state’s discrimination law to also include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” or “SOGI” for short.
This proposal wouldn’t change the law—only the commission’s “guidance” on the matter. But this new “guidance” would mean the law would be enforced as if it had changed.
This guidance comes on the heels of repeated failures to accomplish the same outcome through the legitimate way of changing laws—through the legislative process and with the consent of the governed.
It is a move that mimics the Obama administration’s executive and bureaucratic overreaches when Congress rejected LGBT demands for changes in federal law. It also represents a serious usurpation of legislative authority and an end run around our political system.
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