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Lower Makefield seeks members for new Human Relations Commission


Editor's Note: This article has been updated with a comment from  Supervisor Vice Chair Daniel Grenier.

Lower Makefield supervisors established a new township Human Relations Commission Wednesday as part of an anti-discrimination ordinance that also bans conversion therapy for those age 18 or younger.
Conversion therapy is defined as “any practices or treatments that seeks to change an individual’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity.”
Resident Cathy Hanville, who supports the new ordinance, said, “I’m very happy they passed it, adding she was “a little disappointed” that the vote wasn’t unanimous. She said she was glad the township enacted it during Pride Month for the LGBTQ community.
The ordinance was approved by a 4-1 vote with Supervisor James McCartney voting against it.
McCartney said he opposed discrimination but thought the appointed commission hearing cases involving freedom of speech “might be a little bit of government overreach.”
Supervisor Vice Chair Daniel Grenier expressed his support for the ordinance in an email.
“By approving this ordinance, the Board of Supervisors took a very important step toward ensuring that our residents will not be discriminated against just for being who they are,” he wrote. “We want everyone to feel welcome, safe, and supported in Lower Makefield Township. This ordinance shows a concerted effort to do just that.”

Grenier thanked community members who provided guidance and constructive feedback on its content.
Residents and full-time workers in the township who would want to serve on the commission are urged to apply, said Supervisor Chairman John Lewis in an email after the meeting.
“Folks can send a letter of interest with a current resume to The board will vote on the nominations as they come in. We typically interview folks before the meeting and vote on them at the end of the meeting,” Lewis said.
The commission will be composed of five voting members who serve three-year terms each, and the commission may elect three other non-voting members “to broaden the diversity.” The commission members cannot be political party officers and will not be paid for their service, but may be compensated for expenses.
The ordinance outlines procedures for the commission to handle and try to resolve discrimination complaints. They must be filed within 180 days of an alleged act of discrimination.
The ordinance said that the commission members will need to attend training and education seminars, directed by the commission chairperson who will be appointed by the supervisors. The training will be in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.
Nine other municipalities in Bucks have Human Relations panels, according to the Bucks County Human Relations Council. They are Bristol, Doylestown, Langhorne, New Hope, Newtown and Yardley boroughs and Middletown, Newtown and Solebury townships.

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