This afternoon, Dan Onorato and Joe Hoeffel addressed a group of women and men from Pittsburgh’s LGBT community along with some of our straight allies. The group was pretty diverse which was really nice. I live Tweeted during the meeting, and will post all of the tweets here, and then want to wrap up with some commentary about the gathering.

  • At the Onorato Pride reception. Joe Hoeffel speaking. #lgbt #p2
  • Hoeffel calling Corbett a throwback to ’50’s era policies. #lgbt #p2
  • Corbett won’t do radio or other media appearances so he doesn’t have to answer hard questions. #lgbt #p2
  • Onorato talking about need to build strong coalition of Eastern and Western PA progressives.#lgbt #p2
  • Corbett’s oil $$$ is coming from Texas. 2 big fundraisers for him in TX in the last month. Will Corbett make PA like Texas?#lgbt #p2
  • #lgbt and other minority voters can be the deciding votes for PA governor. #p2
  • Onorato giving all credit to Amanda Green for bring county ordinance forward. #lgbt #p2
  • Onorato talking about what the governor can do to help pass #lgbt legislation. Dan’s direct commitment to our issues is clear. #p2
  • Good mix of women, men, and minorities at the Onorato event. #lgbt #p2
  • Onorato vows to defend current PA law in terms of Women’s right to choose. Dan to oppose any legislation to be more restrictive. #lgbt #p2

I’ve had the opportunity t hear Dan a few times now and I think he has the right ideas in a very big way. I’m especially impressed by what I think is his willingness to listen and learn. From the first time I spoke directly to him about the Allegheny County non-discrimination protection almost 2 years ago, till now, I can see a real change in his appreciation and awareness and attitudes about issued important to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. This openness to learning and evolving a viewpoint is a sign of a real leader in my opinion. I’ve written much about why I think electing Tom Corbett would be disasterous for progressive issues in Pennsylvania (and I do), but I also thin that electing Dan Onorato is also about electing the right person, not only trying to defeat the wrong person.

After working on non-discrimination for the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with a number of Western PA legislators who happen to be more like Onorato.  I think his negotiating skills can go a long way towards bring these Western PA Dems on to passing LGBT legislation.

One thing Dan talked about that I didn’t Tweet- he talked about how different issues matter to different parts of the state. For example gun laws have a whole different connotation in SE PA than SW PA. I think anyone looking for progressive progress has to come to terms with the fact that this isn’t one small homogenic state with one unified set of issues or perspectives.

I wasn’t really involved with politics when Rendell was running. I don’t know if he was this vocal about LGBT issues, but I do know that he hasn’t really done anything to push our issues forward.

Dan talked to some detail about the passage of the Allegheny County ordinance. The role that Amanda Green played, and the role Dan Onorato played. How, the work each did towards the goal of passage was different, and both crucially important. I value the way he can cite and give credit to others where it is due, and at the same time hold on to what was his role. I think we too often try and simplify issues, ad in that simplification fail to grasp how different work on something by different people is needed to get to the final outcome.

Dan even came close to saying he could support same-sex marriage! While his position has been clear- he supports domestic partnerships and civil unions. But when asked directly at this event, he said 2 important things about same-sex marriage: 1) He would veto anything that came to his desk which limited the definition of marriage. This is the exact opposite of Tom Corbett who has said he would actively pursue such an amendment to the PA constitution. 2) He also said that it is clear that times and public opinion is shifting towards gay marriage. This suggests the he is open to seeing this issue differently.

Onorato set out a plan for winning. There are more registered Democrats than Republicans in the state. If they turn out and vote, we win. Sounds simple, right? Simple but maybe not easy. The key now, is getting out the vote.

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