Brian Sims on Tuesday was sworn in as a
member of the Pennsylvania House, becoming the state's first openly
gay elected lawmaker.
The 34-year-old Sims, a policy attorney
and civil rights advocate, won his Democratic primary, unseating
longtime incumbent Rep. Babette Josephs of Philadelphia, and ran
unopposed in the November election.
“The tide has changed,” Sims told
Philadelphia Inquire. “2012 will go down in history as
when being anti-gay puts you in the minority.”
While Democrats in November narrowed
the Republican majority in the Senate, the GOP remains in control of
both chambers. Among the issues expected to be addressed in the
legislative session is a constitutional amendment limiting marriage
to heterosexual couples.
December, Republican Rep. Daryl Metcalfe announced plans to
reintroduce a resolution that seeks to ban gay marriage in the state.
“This constitutional amendment will
eliminate confusion as to what constitutes a legal marriage, and it
will also designate marriage as the only type of union that will be
legally recognized in Pennsylvania,” Metcalfe said in a press
Rep. Mike Fleck, a sitting Republican
from Huntingdon County, recently announced he's gay, making Sims the
House's second openly gay member.
Fleck, Republican Pennsylvania state rep., comes out gay.)