IT'S TROUBLING to think that a teacher could be fired for being gay, but that's the allegation being made by Rev. James St. George, a former adjunct professor, against Chestnut Hill College, a Catholic institution in Northwest Philadelphia.

What's even more troubling than discrimination that could still be so blatant is the fact that it's also perfectly legal to fire people for being gay in most of Pennsylvania.

That's because state law doesn't include sexual orientation or gender identity as being protected from discrimination. (Neither does federal law.) As a result, a business can fire an employee for being gay and not face any repercussions.

This isn't an accidental oversight. For more than 10 years, state Rep. Dan Frankel has repeatedly introduced legislation to protect gay workers from discrimination. The bill has never made it to the desk of any governor.

About 20 cities, including Philadelphia, have anti-discrimination laws; Philadelphia does have an exemption for religious organizations. But local rules are weaker than a state law that would apply to businesses everywhere. Isn't it time?