Statement on 2012 Pennsylvania Primary Results and the Nomination of the General Assembly’s First Openly Gay Member

Harrisburg – Today, Equality Pennsylvania is celebrating.  We think yesterday’s election was a bit of a game-changer.  It is with great pride that we watched our former Board President, Brian Sims, win nomination to serve the 182nd House District.  He has no opponent in November’s General Election and that means he will come to Harrisburg as the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s first openly gay member.

This is a long overdue victory for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Pennsylvanians.  No longer will we have to embarrassingly admit that the place that gave birth to the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution has no openly gay members serving in its highest governing body.  This is a relief and it gives us hope.

 A relief that a member of our community will finally participate in the governing decisions that impact our lives and a hope that Sims represents one more step for Pennsylvania in truly caring about the lives of its LGBT citizens.  We also congratulate other victors last night such as Equality PA endorsed openly LGBT candidates like Chris Dietz, Kelly Jean McEntee and Jeff Dahlander.  We will work to see that they also join the State House come January 2013.  Hopeful too are we about the chances of such strong and new progressive voices like Erin Molchany in Allegheny County, Will Sylianteng in Montgomery County, Sarah Speed in York County, Sean Wiley in Erie County, Joseph Haas in Berks County and Rob Teplitz in Dauphin County to name a few.  We also welcome newly-elected State House member Madeleine Dean from Montgomery County.  Her victory in a special election yesterday was a win for the LGBT community

 Equality Pennsylvania also recognizes that our involvement in the Sims’ race in particular didn’t come without controversy.  Rep. Babette Josephs has been a longtime fighter for LGBT civil rights and progressive causes and we have nothing but respect for her service and legacy.  Equality Pennsylvania knows that a cadre of truly committed and often fearless elected state officials have been watching the backs of the LGBT community for some time now, and our gratitude will always be deep.  We are pleased today to see one of our own coming to Harrisburg to give them help.

 Today represents a new day for the LGBT community, for Equality Pennsylvania and especially for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  Let us benefit from this milestone opportunity together.

Equality Pennsylvania is the statewide voice for LGBT Equality in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and works collaboratively to establish a comprehensive network of individuals and organizations united in securing equal rights for the LGBT community. For more information:  Equality Pennsylvania is a proud member of the Equality Federation.

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