LGBT caucus expands in Pa. Legislature
February 17, 2013By Mary Wilson
State lawmakers supporting equal rights measures for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Pennsylvanians say it's a new day for their cause.
The LGBT Equality Caucus hasn't set its sights on legalizing gay marriage in the commonwealth, although a recent poll shows a slim majority of Pennsylvania voters support it.
The group's top issue is making it illegal to discriminate against residents on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Rep. Brian Sims, D-Philadelphia, is the first elected openly gay state legislator.
"We can't be fired for being white or black or Christian or Jewish or, frankly, fat or thin, but I can be fired for being an openly gay man and the time has come to correct that," Sims said.
Sims and other lawmakers say the growth of the LGBT Equality Caucus brings anti-discrimination legislation within reach.
The group, at 26 members two years ago, now has 58 members -- which is a little less than a quarter of the total number of members in the Legislature. But both the House and Senate are controlled by Republicans.
The caucus counts only three Republicans as members. One of them is Rep. Mike Fleck, who came out late last year.