The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) held it’s annual Philadelphia Region Gala Dinner on Saturday. Philly native and HRC Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs Tom O’Donnell served as the speaker for the evening, welcoming Philly State Rep. Brian Sims as special guest. Other notable honorees and performers that evening included 30 Rock star Maulik Pancholy, who received the 2014 Visibility Award, out country singer Steve Grand, and ’90s pop diva Crystal Waters. The evening began with a cocktail party, and an impressive silent auction featuring everything from dinner at a Stephen Star restaurant to signed footballs and trips abroad. Then guests enjoyed dinner and the program in Millennium Hall, followed by an after-party at Voyeur.
The words “Harrisburg” and “intrigue” are pretty much antithetical these days. Philadelphia’s relationship to the yawning capital consists mostly of being outraged at the governor, while taking occasional breaks to cackle mirthfully when he makes a gaffe. He is an evil buffoon, we are Rachel Maddow, and the show is on perpetual repeat.
Enter the Chimera of state politics, the three-headed monster that threatens to devour itself in its quest for Philadelphia delegation supremacy. The cast of characters: superstar 35-year-old Center City representative Brian Sims; his former boss, felled opponent, and now, primary challenger Babette Josephs; his colleague and recent antagonist, Northeast Philadelphia stalwart Mark Cohen.
The plot: Sims turns against several fellow House Democrats, including Cohen, endorsing their primary opponents. Shortly thereafter, Babette Josephs, the sweet 73-year-old lady you see walking her doggie in Fitler Square who lost a bitter political cage match to Sims two years ago, announces she’s coming out of retirement to challenge him in the primary. Amidst all this, Sims goes on an epic, unfiltered Facebook rant against Cohen in which he accuses the 64-year-old of having performance-crippling dementia.
On March 30th, Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF) will honor six local LGBTers and allies at its eighth annual HEROES event. The affair was created by DVLF to pay tribute to “youth, adults, non-profits, straight-allies & businesses who have bold ideas, act with selfless intention, are admired for their integrity, and are regarded as courageous in advancing the equality of the [region's] LGBTQ community.”
Those being awarded are mega gay rights advocate Mel Heifetz (Lifetime Achievement), Philly State Representative Brian Sims (Community HERO), pro-marriage fighting MontCo Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes (Straight Ally HERO), Donald Jackson (Youth HERO), the City of Brotherly Love Softball League (Non-Profit Organization HERO), and Philly iconic gay bookstore Giovanni’s Room (Business/Corporation HERO).
The awards will be handed out at a brunch on May 30th in the Lafayette Ballroom of the Hotel Monaco. For more information and tickets go to dvlf.org.
Update: Mark Cohen has responded himself, in the comments below. Read the lengthy rebuttal yourself, but here’s a flavor.
One of the things I have come to accept is that people (with minor limitations) have basically a constitutional right to lie about elected officials. The simple facts are that, in this session of the House, I have a nearly 100% attendance record on the House floor and in the State Government Committee, that I have sponsored more bills and resolutions than any other House member, that I pushed through the House with its Republican majority the broadest Buy American government purchasing legislation in Pennsylvania history, and that I played a key role in the passage of the largest transportation funding bill in decades, which gave SEPTA over $300,000,000.
Rep. Brian Sims has angered fellow Dems in Harrisburg by backing Jared Solomon, who is challenging longtime Northeast Philly state representative Mark Cohen. (Here’s one challenger he’s not crazy about.) In a Facebook comment underneath his announcement that he was hosting a fundraiser for Solomon, he essentially accused Cohen of having dementia.
The ugliest political race of 2012 was not the BHO vs. WMR presidential duel. It was the cagematch for Pennsylvania’s 182nd house district, AKA Babette Josephs’s longtime Center City turf, son. Recap: Babette’s former campaign treasurer, the openly gay studmuffin Brian Sims, beats the longtime progressive champion and LGBT rights advocate at her own game, edging her by 200 votes in a race full of personal, vitriolic attacks.
Philly State Representative Brian Sims was one of 10 chosen in Out magazine’s annual search for the planet’s most-eligible gay bachelors. He was voted on by readers out of a list of 100, so it’s not too shabby.
Sims’ inclusion is the first time Out’s had a politician in the lineup. He comes in at No. 5, sharing the spotlight with folks like rock star Adam Lambert (No. 1), Glee‘s Chris Colfer (No. 6) and hunky country singer Steve Grand.
See the rest of the list here.
Starting at 7 p.m. tonight, State Reps. Mike Schlossberg and Brian Sims will host a “Twitter Town Hall” on LGBT equality in Pennsylvania. You can tweet your questions to them with the hashtag #PaEquality. The reps. say they’re ready to discuss everything — from PA marriage equality news to the status of HB 300, the bill that would make it illegal for a PA business to fire someone because of their sexual identity or orientation. So let the questions fly.
Tonight Pennsylvania State Representatives Mike Schlossberg (D-Lehigh) and Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia) will host a “Twitter Town Hall,” live from the state Capitol. The social-media event is meant to give constituents the opportunity to check up on the progress of legislation related to LGBT equality in the Commonwealth.
Among the topics that the lawmakers expect to discuss are same-sex marriage and the long-awaited LGBT non-discrimination bill, HB300, that’s still awaiting movement in the House of Representatives. The latter measure would include gender identity and sexual orientation to PA’s Human Relations Commission legislation, protecting LGBT people from being fired from their jobs or being asked to leave a place of business just for being gay. (Can you believe that’s actually legal?)
The town hall will take place tonight between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. To join the conversation, tweet Schlossberg (@RepSchlossberg) or Sims (@RepSims) with the hashtag #paequality, or message them on their respective Facebook pages: Sims, Schlossberg. A host of other Philly legislators will also be available for questions, including Reps. Michelle Brownlee (@repbrownlee), Brendan Boyle (@repbrendanboyle), Stephen Kinsey (@repkinsey), and Senator Larry Farnese (@larryfarnese).
Follow the live feed of tonight’s discussion here: http://bit.ly/1ckCXmn
Snorebett Corbett shocked our pants off today when he came out in support of H.B. 300, a long sought-after bill that will once and for all protect Pennsylvania LGBTers from things like getting fired or getting kicked out of a place of business just for being gay.
The Inquirer reports that he came to the decision after realizing that federal non-discrimination laws do not apply in Pennsylvania: “I’ve had people come and talk to me about how they were discriminated against. … The federal government has anti-discrimination laws. I believed they covered it.”