“Not ready for prime time” — Representative Rob Kauffman’s comments on the proposed NDO for Chambersburg

September 17 — With Chambersburg Borough Council set to hear public comment on Monday about the proposed nondiscrimination ordinance for the LGBTQ+ community and a possible Human Relations Commission in Chambersburg, Representative Rob Kauffman joined First News this morning to talk with Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen about the legislation.

Kauffman has an office in the borough of Chambersburg.

Kauffman said, “It seems to be the case that they’re saying you have to pass it before you know what’s going to happen. I talked to a constituent who had asked the same question I believe it was four times to try to get an answer as to what this particular situation would mean in their business. What if they refused to advertise a certain event? Where they advertise other events, but it’s their business, what if they chose to advertise certain events and not other ones? What would be the repercussions? We can’t tell you because the ordinance isn’t in effect yet. So you actually have to wait and see.”

Ryan said, “You guys have got to boil this down for business owners and for individuals. This will help maybe some borough council members that are on the fence here.”

Why is it so difficult to get questions answered?

Kauffman suggested, “Is it because they know the answer or is it because they literally have no clue what they’re doing? Who knows?”

Jansen pointed out, “What we have here is people on a borough council deciding they can define what gender is through this law. I’m sorry, I don’t know what gives you the authority or the knowledge or the wisdom to do this. The state Human Relations Commission, the 11 people on that, who are very ideological by the way…they’ve decided they get to decide what’s gender in the state. And it’s just their quote unquote guidance, their subjective decision. Why those 11 people think they can decide for the rest of the state what gender is is just beyond me.”

News Talk 103.7FM filed Right to Know requests where emails between Borough Manager Jeffrey Stonehill and Borough Council President Alice Elia talk about creating this ordinance.

Jansen said, “They said the goal is to punish individuals and businesses for violating what’s considered…today’s acceptable discrimination.”

Kauffman asked, “So it will be a moving definition, a moving target?”

“It sounds like it,” Jansen said.

Kauffman said, “You cannot have law that’s a moving target. You’ve got to know what the target is, what you’re headed toward. So you can’t have this moving target which everything is fluid now. Of course all the fluidity, we hear about gender fluidity and all of these things. You can’t have that when you’re looking at law.”

Jansen said, “This is an ideological movement and they want to enshrine it in law and I don’t understand why we’re all sitting here saying that’s just fine. It’s not fine.”

Kauffman said, “What happens when a business person is playing Christian music in their business and someone feels threatened because you know all Christians are bigots. Which of course that’s what we’re told by mainstream media. On the flip side, what if a business is playing vile music that you would hear on radio stations that most of us wouldn’t listen to and someone else feels threatened by that music. Is that a threatening situation?”

“That’s a great question,” Ryan said.

The bottom line here is will this be treated as a belief system or will it be treated as a truth you have to believe in?

Jansen said, “If you can come in and demand that that person has to behave as if I am the opposite sex under every circumstance, including women’s shelters, including bathrooms and private spaces, shower spaces, including out at our community pool, that’s very different from just a live and let live. It’s fine for you to have your belief system as long as you’re not insisting that we all have to believe in it under every, single circumstance. And that’s the worry and the uncertainty here and they so far have not answered that question.”

If Kauffman is getting questions from his constituents that have tried four times to get an answer, how has nothing been answered?

Jansen said, “Answer the questions. Before you take a vote. However you’re going to come down on and believe in, make it clear to us what it means. That’s been my ask all along. Transparency and why are you doing this? And all we get is a lot of obfuscation about what this really means.”

Heath Talhelm, Councilmember for Ward Five, said at a recent meeting: “Like I said, for clarification, these are just thoughts. No one did any research whether these facts are proven or not proven, but this is what people feel, but again, that’s important to them.”

“You’re right,” Ryan said. “It is important to them. Is it law?”

Jansen added, “Should we be basins laws on what people feel instead of whether there’s proven facts or not that people’s rights are being violated. Heath Talhelm just said we don’t have evidence that this is true or not, we’re going on what people feel. Is that what laws should be based on? And Jeffrey Stonehill by the way, confirmed it.”

Kauffman said, “In Harrisburg, granted we get things wrong all the time, but when it comes to legislation, the questions that are being asked right now are the kind of questions that are asked. How is this legislation going to impact our constituents? How does it work? When we don’t have answers to that, that’s when that legislation literally gets kicked aside and say okay, that needs work. It’s well-intentioned but it needs work. What we’re seeing here in the borough is a case in point of not ready for prime time.”

Ryan said, “I have never seen a more welcoming community…frankly, we could teach other communities how to do it so right here and then I’ve got to listen to lefty, progressive, progress people and the likes of someone who can’t wait to continue a race narrative who’s got designs on a political career here in Chambersburg, telling me that I’m an SOB?”

Pastor Scott Bowerman of Central Presbyterian Church confirmed it at an exploratory committee meeting when he said, “Many of the best restaurants in our community are owned by people of different ethnicities and races than I happen to be…I believe this community will thrive economically, culturally, to the extent that we welcome different kinds of people and do all we can to help them find this place to be a wonderful place to live.”

Jansen said, “Everybody loves the Falafel Shack. Their food is fantastic. They’ve not been not welcomed in this community. I don’t get where this is coming from.”

Ryan suggested, “Because if we don’t have something to bitch, moan and complain about, because there are some small minds around here that think they are leading here this progress, progressive stuff here. The place is in good shape here. The police chief has written articles, he’s been called to Harrisburg…are we perfect? Absolutely not, but do I want somebody like an Alice Elia or a Jeffrey Stonehill looking to punish me? Kiss my you-know-what.”

Kauffman said, “These kind of situations, they don’t elicit greater acceptance and understanding. All they do is create strife. Very frankly, it almost appears as though that’s what it’s trying to do. It’s create a divide. Create an ideological narrative rather than actually bring people together and bring more acceptance because that’s what you see in our community. Have they brought real situations of discrimination? No. We’re trying to solve real problems here. We’re not trying to create a problem with the solution in mind.”

Jansen added, “Can we please clarify that somebody not approving of your lifestyle is not the same thing as interfering with your civil rights? Because that’s all we heard. We heard when the president of Wilson College came, there were mean comments made on Facebook. I’m sorry, mean comments on Facebook is not the same thing as interfering with somebody’s civil rights. And then for him to say that one of his staff members said do you need an escort to go to the meeting, it was so unbelievably insulting. There is no evidence that we have people being harmed for their lifestyle choices here in Chambersburg and if it happened, we’d be the first to stand up and ask for justice for that. Everybody’s for that.”