HARRISBURG — February 5, 2020 — Adolescence is tough. For LGBTQ+ youth, this time of growing up can be even more difficult, even dangerous. LGBTQ+ folks are often targets for harassment, just by being who they are. The sad reality is that 39% will consider suicide, and 18% will attempt.

However, there are always beacons of hope. The Rainbow Room, located in Doylestown, is one of those beacons, and provides an atmosphere of acceptance and love for LGBTQ+ youth. For many young people in my district, the Rainbow Room is quite literally a life-saver.

In celebration of the prom that the Rainbow Room will be hosting on February 15th, state Representative Wendy Ullman (D-143) and I were asked to pass a resolution recognizing this day as “Love is Love Day” in the Pennsylvania House and Senate. Sadly, we were not able to bring this resolution, SR 307, to the floor. We were unable to receive unanimous consent from our Republican colleagues.

We can disagree in this chamber on many issues, and we do, but one thing on which we should never disagree is that every Pennsylvanian deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. It is not okay that in Pennsylvania, in the year 2020, it is still perfectly legal to discriminate against members of the LGBTQ+ community. We should all be ashamed of that, and actively fight to make our Commonwealth an inclusive place for all residents, especially our children.

I am a person of faith. In my role as state Senator, I do not often speak publicly of my religious faith, as I am also a strong believer in the separation of church and state. However, I will say that faith is not an excuse to discriminate, disrespect, or marginalize any members of our community. It is truly a perversion of faith to wield it as a weapon to be used against our most vulnerable.

I have faith that change is coming. I have faith that our LGBTQ+ children will be able to grow up in a world of acceptance, respect, and love. I have faith that there will always be people who will stand up for the dignity of others.

Love is love, with or without a resolution.

For more information on Senate Resolution 307, click here.

To view Senator Santarsiero’s full floor address, click here.