Out Pennsylvania representatives Brian Sims (above, left) and Mike Fleck (above, right) were guests of honor at two fancy-pants fundraisers hosted this weekend in New York City by the Pennsylvania Society. The Inquirer reports:
Sims’ sold-out fund-raiser Friday night was at the home of Marc Cherry, creator of the TV show Desperate Housewives.
Sims is no newcomer to the Pennsylvania Society. He had traveled as president of the gay-rights group Equality Pennsylvania. Only then, Sims said, he was on nobody’s party list.
"I was the crazy outsider," he recalled in an interview.
Sims' guests paid as much as $2,500 to attend the party at Cherry's Upper West Side penthouse.
Sims said he met Cherry, a gay Republican active in politics, at a fund-raiser in California a few months ago, and Cherry offered his Manhattan apartment for the Pennsylvania Society event.
Fleck, who, as you may remember, came out last year only days before Sims was sworn in, officially claiming the title of the first openly gay member of the House of Representatives (see correction below), was honored at his own hoopla on Saturday.
Fleck was feted with a $100-a-head brunch Saturday thrown by a Democratic power couple: Victor Gotbaum, the former leader of the city's largest municipal employees union, and his wife, Betsy, the former New York public advocate.
"It was the first time they ever held a fund-raiser for a Republican," said Fleck, whose partner, Warren Licht, director of strategic initiatives for North Shore-Long Island Hospital, is a close friend of the Gotbaums.
CORRECTION: Got this message from the Brian Sims camp in response to my statement that Fleck claimed the "first openly gay legislator" title before Sims was sworn in:
Technically and officially, Brian and Mike share the designation of “First openly gay legislator” as per the Pennsylvania Constitution. Article II, Sec. 2 of the PA Constitution states:
“Members of the General Assembly shall be chosen at the general election every second year. Their term of service shall begin on the first day of December next after their election. Whenever a vacancy shall occur in either House, the presiding officer thereof shall issue a writ of election to fill such vacancy for the remainder of the term.”
Since Fleck came out and Brian officially began his legislative duties and term of service on December 1, 2012, they share the designation of “first openly gay legislators.”