LGBT Community Praises Veto of Northampton County Voter Referendum

Written by on August 28, 2020

LGBT Community Praises Veto of Northampton County Voter Referendum

By Ben Stemrich

August 28, 2020

Photo | Ben Stemrich / WLVR

UPDATE: In response to this morning’s veto by Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure of the recently passed voter referendum on LGBT civil rights, local LGBT organizations serving Northampton County residents praised the decision to veto.

On August 20th, Northampton County Council passed a voter referendum seeking to amend the county charter to add protections for the LGBT community to the county’s non-discrimination law. While enumeration of protected classes and updates to existing laws is important, civil rights groups generally oppose ballot initiatives to do so.

Members of the local LGBTQ community said they are unhappy with a voter referendum that would put their civil rights on the ballot.

The symbolic measure, passed by the Northampton County Council last week, would allow residents to vote on if they support LGBTQ rights.

But some Lehigh Valley residents are calling elected officials to undo what they call: a mistake, WLVR’s Ben Stemrich Reports.

The referendum asks if the county charter can be amended to protect sexual orientations and gender identities.

Adrian Shanker is executive director of Bradbury-Sullivan LGBTQ community center in Allentown. 

“The majority should never have the right to vote on minority rights. It’s wrong and it’s offensive, and it’s legally unnecessary. The Supreme Court has already settled this issue that LGBT people are protected from employment discrimination…”

County executive Lamont McClure says the decision was made with good intentions…

“I’ve had people with tears in their eyes appeal to me because they don’t think their dignity should be on the ballot…”

The resolution passed 7-1… to remove it from the ballot McClure would have to veto the rule and then, have it approved by council… Ben Stemrich WLVR News.

McClure says he plans on talking with the council and making his decision to veto or not.

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