Rainbow Flags

TAKE ACTION NOW!

A local radio station and church have partnered together to stop the Borough Council of Chambersburg from adopting a local non-discrimination ordinance.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

PLEDGE TO TAKE ACTION: Write a letter, attend and speak at a special Borough Council meeting where they will decide whether or not to approve the proposed law.

PLEDGE HERE: forms.gle/uzoADdMPorEtUei79

 

Meeting Details (rescheduled from Sept. 1, 2021):

WHEN: Monday, September 20th, 2021 at 7PM
WHERE: Chambersburg Borough Hall, 100 South Second Street, Chambersburg, PA (
Doors to the rear parking lot open at 6:30pm) 
WHAT: 
Make a statement (about 3 minutes long) why you support a local non-discrimination law

ZOOM LINK: Public comment will be accepted by anyone participating via zoom. 

 

Want to attend and speak but feel unsafe?

Allies are prepared to read statements on behalf of LGBTQ+ persons who feel like they cannot attend to express themselves. Click here for more info

Want to show support but can't attend? Send an email to your council representatives (even if you can attend, also send a letter!). Find your council representatives here.

Click the button or scroll down for more information about the proposed Chambersburg Borough Non-Discrimination Ordinance.

Rainbow Flags

Background

During the spring of 2021, the Franklin County Coalition for Progress organized an advocacy effort to ask the Borough of Chambersburg to form an exploratory committee to research a LGBTQ+ inclusive non-discrimination ordinance. The advocacy effort was spurred after the Council adopted operational policies (on March 8, 2021) that extended protections to employers, volunteers, elected officials and contractors associated with the Borough - which fell short of protecting all citizens. Over 500 people signed a petition and several spoke at a Council meeting on April 12, 2021 to ask the Council to form the committee. On April 28, the Council approved the formation of a special exploratory committee. 

Special Exploratory Committee

At the Regular Meeting of Chambersburg Town Council on April 26, 2021, after deliberation and debate, and a second evening of extensive public comments, Council approved the formation of a subcommittee comprised of Town Council to explore the issues below:

  1. To approve a new Exploratory Committee, established by Town Council, comprised of 3 members of Town Council, in order to research, gather information, and potentially recommend amendment(s) to our local laws to potentially codify Non-Discrimination Non-Harassment into the Code of Ordinances of the Borough of Chambersburg;

  2. To research, gather information, and recommend whether or not Chambersburg should assume responsibility for investigation, adjudication, and enforcement of complaints with a separate body such as a "Human Relations Commission" as specifically permitted by State Law;

  3. To deliver a written memo to Council by late July or early August 2021.

In addition, Council selected by vote the three members of Council who will be on the Committee. The Chair of the Committee was Council Member Kathy Leedy. The other two members were Council Vice President Mike Herbert, and Heath Talhelm, Former Council President.

The Exploratory Committee, which met six times, was officially directed with researching, gathering information, and considering potential amendment(s) to local law to codify non-discrimination in the Code of Ordinances of the Borough of Chambersburg. They also considered whether Chambersburg should assume local responsibility for investigation, adjudication, and enforcement of complaints with a separate body such as a local “human relations commission" as has already been done to a greater or lesser extent by 69 other Pennsylvania municipalities. Finally, they were to deliver a written report to Council with recommendations. A summary of their meetings is included in their report.

Special Exploratory Committee Meetings 

To watch the special exploratory committee meetings, click the links below.

  • May 11th, 2021 Meeting: The chair of the committee, Kathy Leedy (Ward 3), set the stage, explained why the committee was formed, outlined the framework and timeline about how the group would operate and invited public participation and comment.

  • May 26th, 2021 Meeting: Speakers included the Chambersburg Borough Solicitor and Borough Manager, who explained the legal history and framework of the PA Human Relations Act and how a local municipality could adopt a local non-discrimination law. 

  • June 16th 2021 Meeting: Carl Summerson, a Hearing Examiner from the PA Human Relations Commission, explained the work of the PA HRC; Charles R. Gable, Gettysburg Borough Manager and Sean Shultz, Deputy Mayor Carlisle Borough Council, discussed their communities' non-discrimination ordinances.

  • June 30th, 2021 Meeting: Mike Ross, Franklin County Area Development Corporation and Stephen Christian, Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce voiced their concerns about more regulation of local businesses; and both Randall Wenger, Esq. and Jeremy Samek, Esq. of the PA Family Institute, explained why they oppose the adoption of a NDO.

  • July 21st, 2021 Meeting: Megan Shreve, CEO of South Central Community Action Programs, and Dr.'s Nicole and Robert Hewitt, educators and facilitators, discussed results from a series of focus groups they conducted with people of color as part of the Borough's Comprehensive planning process; they expressed support for a NDO as a local service and way to address non-discrimination complaints through a mediation process, which would be provided through a local human relations commission; Wesley R. Fugate, Ph.D. and President of Wilson College, expressed his support for a non-discrimination ordinance, shared recruitment challenges and his own experiences as a gay man, and challenges members of the LGBTQ+ community on campus have had; and Pastor Scott Bowerman of Central Presbyterian Church and a member of Racial Reconciliation, expressed his support for NDO and local mediation services (he volunteered to serve on the human relations commission if the NDO is adopted).

  • July 28th, 2021 Meeting: Jason Landau Goodman, Special Policy Advisor and Preston Heldibridle, Executive Director from the Pennsylvania Youth Congress spoke in favor of the NDO;  Jack V. Jones, President/CEO of BOPiC, Inc. shared findings from cross-sector focus groups conducted as part of the Borough comprehensive planning efforts where a common theme of diversity and inclusion emerged; and Adam Meredith, Lead Pastor from Antrim BIC Church spoke about why he opposed a NDO. 

Special Exploratory Committee Report and Recommendation

On August 7, 2021, the exploratory committee released their report with a recommendation to adopt a local non-discrimination ordinance that includes all of the statewide protections that began with the PA Human Relations Act of 1955 and add protections as details in the August 2018 PHRC-issued guidance. The committee said in their report "....in our view, it is not an extreme position to have an ordinance that requires residents, businesses and organizations to treat everyone in the community equally in matters of housing, employment and public accommodation."

 

To see the full report and recommendations click here. 

On Monday, September 20th, 2021, Chambersburg Borough Council will consider the recommendations made by the exploratory committee and decide whether or not to approve the proposed law. See proposed Human Relations Ordinance here.

Whether you plan to speak at the September 20th public meeting or not, it is always a good idea to  email your elected officials  to let them know how you would like them to vote. View SAMPLE LETTERS to send Borough Council here tinyurl.com/53n7vbnp

Who are your council members? See what ward you live in here

Each ward has two representatives on council. View the ward map using the button above to see which you live in, then view the table below to see your council members. Another way to remember what ward you live in is what day of the week your trash is picked up. If your trash is picked up on Monday, then you live in the first ward, and so on. You can email your representative and / or the entire council. 

Don't Forget to Vote on November 2!

For those who live in the Borough of Chambersburg, remember to VOTE on November 2, 2021 for candidates who support your values! The non-discrimination ordinance is the perfect example of why it's important to vote in local elections! Email your council members and ask them if they support this ordinance. Attend the September 1 meeting see how they vote!