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A Pennsylvania appeals court has upheld an Allentown ordinance granting special non-discrimination rights to homosexuals and those with non-traditional “gender identities,” a development that has a statewide pro-family group steaming.

The American Family Association of Pennsylvania says the decision by the Commonwealth Court opens the door for men in Allentown to come to work in a dress and to shower with female co-workers.

The legislation, passed by the town’s City Council in 2002, adds sexual orientation and gender identity to its human-relations ordinance.

The unanimous three-judge panel Thursday reversed the decision of a Lehigh County judge, who had struck down the newest provisions.

”Fantastic,” City Councilwoman Gail Hoover, a sponsor of the measure, told the Allentown Morning Call. ”What a great day.”

AFA claims the promoters of the law were overly aggressive in preventing the issue from going before Allentown voters.

“Gone unreported in media stories are the acts of intimidation and harassment on the part of homosexual activists as concerned citizens in Allentown attempted to circulate and/or sign petitions the summer of 2002 after the City Council effectively pushed the ordinance changes through in April of that year,” Diane Gramley, president of the AFA of Pennsylvania, said in a statement. “These concerned citizens simply wanted an opportunity to place the matter before all the voters in Allentown to see if the city council-approved language was what the people really wanted. Homosexual activists knew that if the people had a chance to vote the ordinance changes would be removed. I believe the majority of Allentown citizens still oppose the ordinance.”

The activist organization pointed out at least one prominent homosexual lawmaker opposes adding “gender identity” to non-discrimination statutes:

“Even openly homosexual Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., opposes adding ‘transgender’ or ‘gender identity’ to the proposed federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act because he knows that by so doing radical transgender activists will demand that men who think they are women be permitted to use the women’s restroom and shower facilities in the workplace.”

AFA of Pennsylvania cited a 2003 incident where Teamsters Union Local 773 forced Carbon County, Pa., to reinstate a transgender prison guard in light of the Allentown ordinance.

“Does the Carbon County prison still have a man dressed as a woman guard?” the group asked. “How many strip searches of female inmates has he conducted?”

According to the local paper, Attorney Randall Wenger, who represents the four Allentown landlords who sued the city, said a decision has not been made whether to appeal to the state Supreme Court.

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