That’s So Gay: PA Primary

Tomorrow is election day. Here's why LGBTs should get out the vote.

Tomorrow, May 17, is the Pennsylvania primary, which means it’s time for registered Republicans and Democrats to head to the polls in Philly. On the fence? Here are five reasons why this election is important to the LGBT community.

1. Voters have the opportunity to elect the first openly gay and/or lesbian to city council this year: Sherrie Cohen (Democrat) and Malcolm Lazin (Republican). If either of these candidates win, it would be the first time ever that an openly gay person holds a seat on city council in Philly.

2. Openly gay Christopher Mallios is running for judge. Mallios is the District Attorney’s LGBT liaison and hate crime coordinator. He’s also a member of the William Way Community Center. If he’s elected, he would be the third openly gay judge to be elected in Philly. Currently, Ann Butchart and Dan Anders both have judgeships in the city.

3. Several straight allies to the LGBT community are also hoping to hold onto their seats in Philly, including Blondell Reynolds Brown (she proposed legislation so that same-sex couples working for the city may be covered by healthcare) and Vern Anastasio (he’s a former staffer of the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission and encouraged the first same-sex ceremony at City Hall).

4. While gay marriage isn’t on the ballot in Pennsylvania, several candidates support the measure and have been outspoken about other gay rights issues impacting Philly. Jeff Hornstein, who’s running for council, vows to advocate for LGBT Philadelphians in a big way. Also affiliated with the LGBT community is Maria Quinones Sanchez who has worked closely with GALEI over the years and employes several openly gay and lesbian staff people.

5. Joe Grace is running for City Council. He not only opposes the Boy Scout deal that would essentially sell the property by the city to the scouts for a fraction of what its worth even though the group discriminates against gay members, but he wants to do away with SEPTA’s gender status on transit passes. His campaign manager is also openly gay.

Follow election results online tomorrow by clicking here.