By Kim Glovas

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia is inviting gay, lesbian, and transgender residents of Indiana and Arkansas to relocate to Philadelphia.

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First District city councilman Mark Squilla penned the open letter to all residents in states that recently passed so-called “religious freedom” laws, which critics say may invite discrimination based on sexual orientation, welcoming them to live here.  It was signed by all members of City Council and Mayor Nutter.

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Squilla says his letter makes clear that Philadelphia welcomes diversity:

“We’re all equal here, whatever religion you are, whatever nationality you are, whatever heritage you came from. And Philadelphia was built on that. And the State of Pennsylvania.  Freedom of religion.”

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Squilla hopes that when Indiana or Arkansas residents see that letter, it will show that this city is presenting a united front against any kind of sexual discrimination.