Gay Man to Run for PA House
Brian Sims, the former board president of Equality PA, and a former member of the Victory Fund, announced plans to run as a Democrat in the primary for the 182nd District House seat currently occupied by Rep. Babette Josephs. If elected he would become the first openly gay legislator in the state.
Unseating the longtime rep. will be no easy task for Sims, a 32-year-old lawyer living in the Gayborhood, although his work on successful campaigns, such as Judge Dan Anders – the openly gay judge first elected to the Court of Common Pleas in 2007 – as well as his presidency of the Gay and Lesbian Lawyers of Philadelphia – has surely put his name on the political map, particularly in the local LGBT community. Sims was also named among the “40 Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40” by the National LGBT Bar Association.
“After months of serious conversations and consideration, I am announcing my candidacy for Pennsylvania’s State House of Representatives in Center City,” says Sims. “I have worked hard to bring together the right people and the right ideas for a campaign that I am so proud to begin. Over the next weeks and months, leading up to the April 2012 election, you will see a clean, healthy campaign that does right by this district. It will stand as a testament to the power of this city’s robust, progressive roots and to the combined efforts of a strong group of hard working, value-driven Democrats.”
Incumbent Josephs, considered by many as an ally to the LGBT community, has filled the seat for 27 years. At one point, Sims even worked as Josephs’ campaign treasurer as she championed many LGBT causes during her tenure, including HB 300 – the PA Human Relations Act – that provides freedom from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
It may be a good time to be gay-friendly in politics. Several new polls are showing support across the state for LGBT initiatives. According to a public policy poll from earlier this year, as many as 63 percent of Pennsylvania voters support legal recognition of same-sex couples.
Recently, Sim took part in a panel discussion at the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association in Philly last month in which he discussed being out in the sports world. Sims was the first openly gay football captain in the NCAA. For years he’s toured colleges and universities in the U.S., talking about homophobia in sports.
“Pennsylvania and Philadelphia are fighting to regain our moral and political authority,” says Sims, “and this campaign is about accomplishing both in a way that celebrates this district’s rich history and advances the ideals we hold dear.”