US: Philadelphia Mayor to sign landmark LGBT protection bill into law

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The Mayor of the US city of Philadelphia is to sign a city-wide ordinance offering protections, and benefits for LGBT citizens into law, in a ceremony on Thursday.

The City Council in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, last week approved the bill which has been hailed as the most comprehensive legislation for strengthening LGBT rights in any US city.

The bill offers tax credit incentives to businesses which change policies to allow the families of LGBT employees, to enroll for family health benefits.

It also offers a similar incentive to employers who offer transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits to employees.

Michael Nutter will sign the bill into law in a ceremony on Thursday, and the bill’s sponsor James Kenney, said it makes Philafephila the first city to allow business tax credits for offering transgender-specific health benefits, reports the Associated Press.

Introduced by Councilman Kenney, the bill passed 14 votes to 3. Kenney said: ”The spirit of the bill acknowledges people’s humanity, acknowledges their citizenship and their full rights to participate in everything the law has to offer everyone else.”

The bill also goes further to make a series of revisions to the Philadelphia Code, to provide equal treatment for all, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.

It will make city forms gender neutral, and makes it easier for transgender residents to request gender markers on some records, and name changes. Gender-neutral bathrooms are also required in city-controlled buildings, as well as access to buildings based on gender identity.

Healthcare discrimination against non-union transgender city employees will also be banned, and the legislation ensures that employees in Philadelphia will be able to dress in accordance with their gender identity.

Existing provisions relating to Life Partnerships were revised and expanded, reports the Human Rights Campaign.