Remarks by Governor Wolf at Non-discrimination Executive Orders Signing

April 07, 2016

Pennsylvania State Capitol
Harrisburg, PA


Today I am signing two executive orders in an effort to explicitly and decisively end discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender expression and identity in the executive branch of our state government

And I am urging the legislature to pass a non-discrimination bill that makes it clear to the world that Pennsylvania is a welcoming place for everyone

This is the right thing for us to do

Just as it was right for William Penn to proclaim that Pennsylvania was a place for everyone regardless of your religion

But this is also the smart thing to do

Pay Pal’s recent decision not to bring additional jobs to North Carolina because of that state’s insistence on promoting a culture of discrimination shows this

Like Pay Pal, businesses want to invest in places that show they value all people who are willing to:

Work hard

Take risks

Raise a family

Or build a business

We need a level playing field in Pennsylvania because economies don’t thrive on a playing field that isn’t level

We need to ensure that Pennsylvania is a welcoming place regardless

Of the color of your skin

Your gender

The religion you profess

Or the person you love

We need to understand that a future that does not take non-discrimination seriously

Is a poor future indeed

We can – and should – do better here in Pennsylvania

And I am troubled by the General Assembly’s inaction on passing non-discrimination legislation

Pennsylvania needs to go on record to proclaim that all people – regardless of sexual orientation, gender expression or identity – are treated equally under Pennsylvania law

So while I wait for the legislature to send non-discrimination to my desk, I am signing these executive orders today

In other words, these executive orders are a first step toward the non-discrimination legislation we need

These Executive Orders; one that applies to Commonwealth employees and the other that applies to grants and procurement, say that no agency under the governor’s jurisdiction shall discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of:



Religious creed


Union membership



Sexual orientation

Gender identity and expression

National origin

AIDS or HIV status

Or disability

Each agency under the governor’s jurisdiction will ensure fair and equal employment opportunities

The employment practices of the commonwealth must be non-discriminatory

And all businesses contracting with the commonwealth should use non-discriminatory practices in:




And other labor maters

The point is that fairness matters

Fairness and equity are simply right

None of us can lead full lives if all of us can’t

A society that is unfair to some

Is unfair to all

If we want a healthy economy

If we want a strong democracy

If we want a healthy economy

We must have a just society

That is why non-discrimination is important

And that is why these Executive Orders are important

It is a small step in the broader effort to make sure all Pennsylvanians feel their lives are filled with fair chances

That broader effort includes:

Equitable and adequate education funding

A fair minimum wage

And good government

We all want Pennsylvania to have a bright future

These initiatives – and these executive orders – will make that future brighter

My hope is that the General Assembly comes around to share this point of view with me

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