Mayors & Other Municipal Leaders Urge Members of Congress to Protect LGBTQ Americans from Discrimination

Honorable Members of Congress
United States House and Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Member of Congress,

As municipal leaders representing the 29 states which lack comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for our LGBTQ constituents, we urge you to take action and pass federal protections to provide security to our citizens and consistency throughout our states and nation.

All too often, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people experience discrimination in housing, health care, public spaces such as hotels and restaurants, and in other areas of public life. According to a recent study more than 1 in 3 LGBTQ Americans faced discrimination of some kind in the past year, including more than 3 in 5 transgender Americans. That’s something no American should have to face.

Where possible, mayors, city councilors, county executives and other officials have enacted a wide range of local laws and ordinances prohibiting discrimination. More than 400 local and county ordinances have been enacted in the 29 states currently lacking comprehensive protections, and more than 660 have passed in all fifty states — from Miami, Florida to Anchorage, Alaska. The list of cities and counties includes localities large and small, from major population centers such as Phoenix, Philadelphia, and Dallas, to smaller cities and towns such as Whitefish, Montana; Beckley, West Virginia; and the 334-person town of Vicco, Kentucky.

These local ordinances have helped make communities more inclusive and send the message that everyone is welcome. They’ve made workplaces stronger, too – because when everyone can focus on doing their jobs and providing for their families, we all thrive. However, these efforts are simply not enough.

This patchwork of protections is unworkable for LGBTQ people who are vulnerable where they live and when they travel, for national businesses who wrestle with different standards in different places, and for people on all sides of the political spectrum who support fair and consistent treatment for their LGBTQ neighbors. Even when protections exist, each time an LGBTQ resident commutes to another city for work, or visits other states, their level of protection changes, sputtering in and out like frustrating cell phone reception. Usage and enforcement of these protections can vary widely from city to city. This creates a confusing tangle of local ordinances, state laws, court opinions and administrative rulings, which is nearly impossible for the average person to navigate. Landlords, employers, and businesses, especially those with multiple locations, lack a uniform landscape to inform their personnel policies and determine the scope of their obligations. Only comprehensive federal legislation can resolve this patchwork and provide clear and consistent guidelines for all to follow.

As local leaders, we‘ve been having these conversations in our communities for years. After all, municipal leaders represent the level of government most closely connected to our communities. We see first-hand the harms that result when individuals are denied equal treatment. And when our LGBTQ constituents face the concrete and wide-ranging effects of discrimination — from eviction, to loss of a job, to denial of health care coverage — it is typically local governments providing the essential services and assistance needed to support them.

As elected officials we have the obligation to ensure through legislation that all are treated equally under the law – it’s the golden rule of democracy. And in every state across the country, a supermajority of Americans support common sense protections for the LGBTQ community. It’s time for Congress to fulfill its responsibility and pass a federal law making clear that no one should face discrimination because of who they are, who they love or what zip code they call home.

It is time to pass nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people at the federal level. America is ready. And now, as elected officials, Congress, it’s in your hands.

Thank you.

Click here to sign the letter.

Signed,

Commissioners President John Spiegelman
Abington, Pennsylvania

Mayor Daniel Horrigan
Akron, Ohio

Councilman Tom Duerr
Allegheny County, Pennsylvania

Councilmember Bethany Hallam
Allegheny County, Pennsylvania

Mayor Raymond D. O’Connell
Allentown, Pennsylvania

Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson
Anchorage, Alaska

Mayor Steve Patterson
Athens, Ohio

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
Atlanta, Georgia

Mayor Steve Adler
Austin, Texas

Mayor Robert Donchez
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Councilwoman Olga Negron
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Councilwoman Penny Ronning
Billings, Montana

Mayor Randall Woodfin
Birmingham, Alabama

Mayor John Hamilton
Bloomington, Indiana

Mayor Lauren McLean
Boise, Idaho

Councilmember Jimmy Hallyburton
Boise, Idaho

Commissioner Jennifer Madgic
Bozeman, Montana

Mayor Mark Barbee
Bridgeport, Pennsylvania

Commissioner Michele Shea
Butte-Silver Bow County, Montana

Councilmember Alissa Packer
Camp Hill, Pennsylvania

Councilor Jeff Stuby
Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Mayor Lydia Lavelle
Carrboro, North Carolina

Mayor Pro Tem Brian Mock
Chamblee, Georgia

Mayor John Tecklenburg
Charleston, South Carolina

Councilmember Carol Jackson
Charleston, South Carolina

Councilmember Jason Sakran
Charleston, South Carolina

Mayor Yaniv Aronson
Conshohocken, Pennsylvania

Council Vice President Tina Sokolowski
Conshohocken, Pennsylvania

Mayor Joseph U. Meyer
Covington, Kentucky

Mayor Eric Johnson
Dallas, Texas

Mayor Nan Whaley
Dayton, Ohio

Mayor Patricia Garrett
Decatur, Georgia

Mayor Joseph Geierman
Doraville, Georgia

Mayor Ron Strouse
Doylestown, Pennsylvania

Mayor Steve Schewel
Durham, North Carolina

Councilmember Charlie Reece
Durham, North Carolina

Councilmember Mark-Anthony Middleton
Durham, North Carolina

Councilmember Javiera Caballero
Durham, North Carolina

Mayor Pro Tempore Jillian Johnson
Durham, North Carolina

Mayor Salvatore Panto
Easton, Pennsylvania

Mayor Joseph Schember
Erie, Pennsylvania

Commissioner John Strand
Fargo, North Dakota

Commissioner Arlette Preston
Fargo, North Dakota

Mayor Lioneld Jordan
Fayetteville, Arkansas

Mayor Melanie Piana
Ferndale, Michigan

Mayor Dean J. Trantalis
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Mayor Lauren Poe
Gainesville, Florida

Mayor Leeman Kessler
Gambier, Ohio

Mayor Stefan Densmore
Golf Manor, Ohio

Councilmember Sharon Chaney
Golf Manor, Ohio

Councilmember Bret Weber
Grand Forks, North Dakota

Councilmember Jeannie Mock
Grand Forks, North Dakota

Councilmember Katie Dachtler
Grand Forks, North Dakota

Mayor Sam Henderson
Gulfport, Florida

Council Vice President Ben Allatt
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Mayor Eileen Weir
Independence, Missouri

Mayor Derek Dobies
Jackson, Michigan

Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba
Jackson, Mississippi

Mayor Pete Muldoon
Jackson, Wyoming

Borough Councilor Joanne Bruno
Jenkintown, Pennsylvania

Mayor Robert Sivertsen
Ketchikan, Alaska

Vice-Mayor David Kiffer
Ketchikan, Alaska

Councilmember Judy Zenge
Ketchikan, Alaska

Councilmember Mark Flora
Ketchikan, Alaska

Councilmember Janalee Gage
Ketchikan, Alaska

Councilmember Sam Bergeron
Ketchikan, Alaska

Councilmember Abby Bradberry
Ketchikan, Alaska

Councilmember Riley Gass
Ketchikan, Alaska

Mayor Neil Bradshaw
Ketchum, Idaho

Councilmember Amanda Breen
Ketchum, Idaho

Councilmember Michael David
Ketchum, Idaho

Councilmember Jim Slanetz
Ketchum, Idaho

Councilmember Courtney Hamilton
Ketchum, Idaho

Mayor Indya Kincannon
Knoxville, Tennessee

Councilmember Seema Singh
Knoxville, Tennessee

Councilmember Lisa Harrison
Leawood, Kansas

Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird
Lincoln, Nebraska

Director Kathy Webb
Little Rock, Arkansas

Commissioner David McComb
Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania

Commissioner Gilda Kramer
Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania

Commissioner Anna Durbin
Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania

Alderperson Michael Verveer
Madison, Wisconsin

Councilmember Shiva Bidar-Sielaff
Madison, Wisconsin

Councilmember Patrick Heck
Madison, Wisconsin

Alderman Mark Borkowski
Madison, Wisconsin

Councilman Jeff Warren
Memphis, Tennessee

Mayor Dan Gelber
Miami Beach, Florida

Mayor Sean Strub
Milford Borough, Pennsylvania

Township Supervisor Rachel Hendricks
Milford Township, Pennsylvania

Council President Christopher Dietz
Millersburg, Pennsylvania

Council President Cavalier Johnson
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Council Vice President Carrie Evans
Minot, North Dakota

Mayor Steven Reed
Montgomery, Alabama

Clerk of Courts Lori Schreiber
Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

Mayor Ron Dulaney
Morgantown, West Virginia

Deputy Mayor Rachel Fetty
Morgantown, West Virginia

Councilmember Bill Kawecki
Morgantown, West Virginia

Councilmember Jennifer Selin
Morgantown, West Virginia

Councilmember Barry Lee Wendell
Morgantown, West Virginia

Councilmember Zachery Cruze
Morgantown, West Virginia

Councilmember Dave Harshbarger
Morgantown, Pennsylvania

Borough Councilmember Muna Elshakhs
Narberth, Pennsylvania

Mayor Dean Kaufert
Neenah, Wisconsin

Commissioner Jess Herbst
New Hope, Texas

Mayor LaToya Cantrell
New Orleans, Louisiana

Councilmember Cyndi Nguyen
New Orleans, Louisiana

Councilwoman Susan Turner
Newtown, Pennsylvania

Mayor Breea Clark
Norman, Oklahoma

Commissioner Matthew Sparks
Oakland Park, Florida

Mayor Jerry L. Demings
Orange County, Florida

Mayor Buddy Dyer
Orlando, Florida

Mayor Kate Gallego
Phoenix, Arizona

Commissioner Steven Guccini
Pike County, Pennsylvania

Mayor Melanie Hammet
Pine Lake, Georgia

Council Chair Christopher Manero
Plymouth Township, Pennsylvania

Councilmember Ron Nelson
Prairie Village, Kansas

Mayor Joseph Begeny
Reynoldsburg, Ohio

Councilmember Kristin Bryant
Reynoldsburg, Ohio

City Attorney Chris Shook
Reynoldsburg, Ohio

Commissioners President Stephen Korbel
Ross Township, Pennsylvania

Mayor Rick Kriseman
Saint Petersburg, Florida

Mayor Erin Mendenhall
Salt Lake City, Utah

Mayor Ron Nirenberg
San Antonio, Texas

Mayor Van Johnson
Savannah, Georgia

Alderman Kurtis Purtee
Savannah, Georgia

Mayor Matthew Rudzki
Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania

Council Vice President Adrianne Laing
Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania

Councilmember Brad Truman
Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania

Councilmember Bruce Hockersmith
Shippensburg, Pennsylvania

Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia
St. Louis, Missouri

Mayor Ronald Filippelli
State College, Pennsylvania

Mayor Corey Woods
Tempe, Arizona

Councilmember Lauren Kuby
Tempe, Arizona

Councilmember Doreen Garlid
Tempe, Arizona

Councilmember Joel Navarro
Tempe, Arizona

Councilmember Robin Arrendondo-Savage
Tempe, Arizona

Councilmember Randy Keating
Tempe, Arizona

Councilmember Jennifer Adams
Tempe, Arizona

Mayor Michelle De La Isla
Topeka, Kansas

Township Supervisor Carole Kenney
Upper Merion Township, Pennsylvania

Mayor Kelsey Collier-Wise
Vermillion, South Dakota

Councilmember Travis L. Letellier
Vermillion, South Dakota

Borough Councilmember Nick Allen
West Chester, Pennsylvania

Mayor Danelle Fournier
West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania

Mayor John Dennis
West Lafayette, Indiana

Mayor Keith James
West Palm Beach, Florida

Mayor Kathy Cocuzzi
Westerville, Ohio

Vice Mayor Valerie Cumming
Westerville, Ohio

Councilmember Alex Heckman
Westerville, Ohio

Mayor Pam Conine
Yellow Springs, Ohio

Mayor Emily Styron
Zionsville, Indiana