PA Equality Advocates Respond to Today’s Marriage Decision

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My inbox became inundated this afternoon, only moments after U.S. District Judge John Jones III made his decision to strike down Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage. I was hearing from marriage equality advocates from across the state — giants who have been fighting and stomping for this right in courtrooms and boardrooms and at rallies for years. Here’s an updating round up of what some of them have to say:

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PHOTOS: Mazzoni Center’s 2014 Elixir Gala

On Saturday, members and supporters of the Mazzoni Center took over the Wells Fargo Bank and Museum for its fourth-annual Elixir Gala. The sold-out party, with the theme “Out Is the New In,” included a well-stocked open bar, delicious food, and a silent auction with prizes ranging from laser hair removal to GayBINGO tickets to a seven-night luxury trip to the Caribbean. When the mingling portion of the evening subsided, Master of Ceremonies Jim Donovan took the stage to announce this year’s 2014 Elixir Honorees. (But first a few photos from the evening, from Freedom G Photography’s Tara Lessard.)



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Brian Sims Almost Makes Out
Power 50 List

BRIAN_SIMSX350Yesterday Out magazine unveiled its 2014 picks for its annual Power 50 list, a roll call of the LGBT community’s most influential movers and shakers. It included everyone from Ellen Degeneres and Robin Roberts to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Neil Patrick Harris.

Following the big reveal, Out announced the eight folks who almost made the cut, and it includes Philly State Rep. Brian Sims, who’s touted as a “rising star champion of equality legislation for LGBTs and women.” While this may seem like a glorified “honorable mention,” he shares the distinction with a handful of pretty impressive folks, like Janet Mock, it girl Laverne Cox, and MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts.

Congrats to Sims. Check out the full list here.

6 Gay Things to Do in Philly This Week: OurNightOut, Quince’s Latest, Young Friends for Brian Sims and More

Our picks for the week’s best gay to-dos, including a happy hour for Brian Sims, Quince Productions’ latest, and an evening of duets starring two of Philly’s tallest drag queens Martha Graham Cracker and Brittany Lynn. 



Looking for something else? Check out our sister blog Ticket’s roundup of local events through June. 

Philadelphia Blogger: My Name Was Forged on Babette Josephs’ Petition

The signature of noted Philadelphia blogger Duncan Black — also known as Atrios — was allegedly forged on the nominating petitions of former State Rep. Babette Josephs, Keystone Politics reports. Black swore in an affidavit and told Keystone Politics the signature, as well as the one below him listing the same address, is not his.

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Keystone Politics explains the deal:

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Brian Sims Teaming With Facebook for “Open Dialogue” Series

1008428_600926903328758_984610268_oOn Friday, Philly State Representative Brian Sims will be a guest at the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Cali., where he will take part in the social media company’s “Open Dialogue” series.

The initiative is a way to “connect elected officials and policymakers with their constituents in real-time, two-way discussions about the most pressing issues facing our nation.”

Here’s how it works: On Friday, at 5 p.m. (EST), Sims will take to his official Facebook page to take part in a conversation about some of the issues most important to him — namely the legal value of House Bill 300, the measure that would make it illegal in Pennsylvania to discriminate against LGBT people in the workplace and places of business.

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PHOTOS: HRC Philadelphia Region Gala Dinner

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 Time Brian Sims Confronted the Man He Accused of Talking to Plants

Photo | Jon Geeting

Babette Josephs (standing) chastising Brian Sims, seated in a bumper car. Photo | Jon Geeting

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.

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Brian Sims, Giovanni’s Room to Receive 2014 HEROES Awards

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Philly State Representative Brian Sims will be honored with DVLF’s 2014 Community HERO Award.

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.

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