Photo credit: amboo who? via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Pa. GOP Candidates Wagner, Ellsworth Tout Support for Transgender Bathroom Bill


In the race for Pennsylvania governor, two Republicans — state Senator Scott Wagner and lawyer Laura Ellsworth — have endorsed legislation that would allow boys to use girls’ locker rooms, showers, bathrooms, and other public facilities where privacy is expected. The only candidate who has publicly opposed such legislation in this race is Army veteran Paul Mango.

Both Wagner and Ellsworth have been criticized for supporting this legislation. Their challenger, Mango, has attacked the legislation and has even run campaign ads against it.

In a March debate, Mango criticized Wagner for supporting the legislation: “One thing I will not do is let people by gender identity come into our girls’ locker rooms in schools in the name of generating business in Pennsylvania. I’m not going to advance that bill, [Scott Wagner’s] bathroom bill, at all.”

While many Republican voters are shocked to learn that both Sen. Wagner and Ellsworth support transgender bathroom legislation, they shouldn’t be, as both candidates’ public records are clear.

In 2015, Wagner accepted $15,000 from radical pro-transgender activist and billionaire donor Tim Gill and his allies. Shortly after, he added his name as a cosponsor of SB974, a bill that would let boys in girls’ showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms — even in schools, among other places that fall under “public accommodations or facilities.”

After receiving hundreds of calls from citizens concerned with the dangers involved with opening up these types of private facilities, Wagner issued a statement accusing opponents of the bill of bullying him and declared “I will not be removing my name from the bill.” Wagner went on to sponsor two additional versions of this legislation in 2016 and 2017.

Most disappointing about Wagner’s record on this legislation is how he has misled voters about what the legislation would do. Not only does Wagner deny that his legislation bans discrimination in public facilities, Wagner has said that he doesn’t “support the third bathroom” — a misleading statement considering that, although his legislation would not create a third bathroom, it would allow boys to use girls’ facilities. In fact, most voters would prefer a third facility to the alternative of allowing boys to shower with girls.

While Ellsworth is not an elected official, she has voiced support for this legislation in public forums and debates. In a debate on March 6, Ellsworth said that she supported the transgender legislation: “…[A]s someone who cares about workforce and economic development, bringing the LGBT community into the anti-discrimination law is the right thing to do.”

What Pennsylvania Republicans need to know is simple: There is only one candidate that believes in protecting the privacy of children, and that is Paul Mango.

Photo credit: amboo who? via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Terry Schilling

Terry Schilling is executive director of the American Principles Project.

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