What Questions Should Chambersburg Borough Council Answer Before Important and Controversial Non-discrimination Ordinance Vote?

CHAMBERSBURG There are many questions the Chambersburg Borough Council should answer before voting on a controversial new non-discrimination bill that expands the definition of LGBTQ+ and other protected groups well beyond the state and federal standards, as well as what might constitute a violation of the new non-discrimination law.

For background: https://tristatealert.com/lets-unpack-the-chambersburg-exploratory-committees-report/

1. What problem here are you solving?

No concrete evidence has been provided by borough council or any source that shows such problems are occurring here in Chambersburg for the groups said to not yet be covered by non-discrimination law. Why are we passing a controversial law for which no evidence could be produced to demonstrate a problem exists after months of research? There was no evidence besides a few unsupported anecdotal stories of anyone’s civil rights being violated for employment, housing or accommodation for either already protected groups or the groups said to be yet unprotected.

2. Whose rights may be denied by this law?

They have not answered concerns that others individual rights will not be infringed upon. The exploratory group did not address or assure that any of the following rights would be protected:

– The right of genetic/biological/anatomical women and men to private spaces for any issues in which states of undress occurs and there is expectation of single sex occupancy such as restrooms/locker rooms/women’s shelters/legal lock up

– The right of genetic/biological women for safe space similar to those above

– The right of genetic girls/women to compete athletically only against other genetic girls/women

– The right of someone to believe in what scientifically we understand about gender through genetics and to not have another group’s belief system forced upon them

All of the above fall into an important question the exploratory committee was asked by a guest expert also unanswered in their report. This was:

3. Will gender (as it falls into the definition by the idiological/political LGBTQ+ activist point of view as a personally held belief) be treated like all other belief systems by this law and allow as we do for other protected belief groups, a live and let live approach? Or will it be treated like race?

Is it looking to force all of the public to accept someone’s belief as objective truth and have to modify their behavior to fully adopt that belief system? I.e. will using the incorrect pronoun according to trans gender identification or referring to trans person in any way as their genetic gender be considered a violation of this new ordinance?

4. Shouldn’t council know how this law will be used BEFORE voting on it and be able to define it for its citizens to know if this will be good for the community or not?

A question repeatedly asked by a local business who cannot get an answer – If I have a large front window or some other areas I allow groups to put up notices of events but deny something like a pride parade event, will that be considered a violation? Obviously many businesses allow others to advertise events but reserve the right not to support something they disagree with ie – they are pro-choice so would not put up a right-to-life march sign OR conversely they are pro-life and would not put up a “my body my choice pro-choice event. So far this business owner cannot get a straight answer from the borough.

5. Personal liability

Questions were asked about both borough liability from lawsuits related to accusations of violations which the exploratory committee says there will be none BUTnever addressed the concerns of business or personal liability if either is forced to defend themselves against accusations this new local NDO may bring.

6. Explain the meaning of what the borough council leadership and managers their reference to the new NDO as “a mechanism to investigate and punish citizens and businesses for violating discrimination on the local level” and similar comments about the new non-discrimination borough policies they decided to extend to any person or entity who does business with the borough in March.

These comments were made in emails exchanged in the summer and fall of 2020. We were repeatedly told these new laws were to help mediate and promote understanding and bring people together – that is not what those exchanges indicate.

7. Question – are these new borough policies that were passed and this new NDO to likely be voted on Money September 20th being forced on Chambersburg because of the ideological beliefs by those in majority power on Borough Council?

In those same series of emails were concerning comments in the discussion where they were not speaking about LGBTQ+ as the reason for these new laws but about the concept of “systemic racism” and “racism” that they apparently believe is suffered by Chambersburg citizens “each day” – which sounds like the ideological belief in Critical Race Theory/structural/inherent cultural racism. They refer to non-discrimination violations as “currently accepted forms of discrimination” – according to who? To what? There was discussions of another town accused of “systemic racism” and putting reparations into action with a reference of doing something similar with the “South Gate” situation here in Chambersburg. This all demonstrates an ideological belief and desire to use laws to enforce their ideological belief system.

The individuals involved should have to explain these references and how they thought the new polices and law would address such things.

Borough Council holds a special meeting 20 September 2021 at Borough Hall.  Anyone with concerns or who agree that these questions should be answered is encouraged to attend, in person if possible. Details on that as provided by the borough:

This important discussion will be held during the regularly scheduled Town Council meeting on Monday, September 20, 2021, at 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers on the First Floor of the Utility Departments Addition to Borough Hall, 100 South Second Street, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Doors to the rear parking lot will open at 6:30 p.m.

A regularly scheduled Town Council meeting had been previously scheduled on this date and time. The Town Council leadership will devote the meeting to this topic so attendees can participate in-person or virtually. There will be nothing else placed on this agenda, if possible.

While Council Chambers occupancy will be limited to approximately 40 people, public comment will be accepted from anyone that attends in-person, whether seated in Council Chambers or waiting in the lobby outside of Council Chambers. Each person will be provided an opportunity to comment one time only to allow everyone a chance to speak. Face coverings will be required for any person that is not fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

In addition, due to technology already installed in Council Chambers, a standard Zoom meeting connection will be provided for fully interactive participation. As such, public comment also will be accepted from anyone that attends virtually by using the Zoom meeting link below. A good internet connection is recommended.

Finally, the proposed Local Human Relations Ordinance will be prepared should a majority of Town Council wish to vote on it at this meeting.

If you are unable to attend the meeting, please submit questions or comments via email to boroughsecretariesoffice@chambersburgpa.gov. Written correspondence can be mailed to Jamia Wright, Borough Secretary, Borough of Chambersburg, 100 South Second Street, Chambersburg, PA 17201.

Zoom Meeting Link

Topic: Chambersburg Town Council Meeting

Time: Sep 20, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 838 0168 6381

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