Brian Sims On How Today’s Decisions Affect LGBT Pennsylvania

The Philadelphia state representative weighs in on today's SCOTUS verdicts and what we need to do to move our state into the 21st century.

This morning, as I know you’re well aware, the Supreme Court delivered two landmark decisions on same-sex marriage. The Defense of Marriage Act was struck down, allowing legally married gay couples throughout the land to reap the federal benefits they deserve. Hollingsworth vs. Perry, the case that challenged the constitutionality of California’s same-sex-marriage-banning Proposition 8, was dismissed, clearing the way for gay couples in the Sunshine State to enjoy their marriage rights once again. It’s hugely exciting news, but one big question remains: How does it affect us here in non-marriage state Pennsylvania? I dialed up State Representative Brian Sims for answers:

As far as marriage is concerned, he says he can see gays being able to tie the knot in Pennsylvania within the next five years, but “nothing is going to change tomorrow … Laws that discriminate are still going to exist all over the country, but what we have now is even more of a foundation to challenge those laws.” He told me that, more than anything, today’s decisions will highlight states like ours that still don’t have the most basic LGBT civil rights, and they will draw more attention to the work we need to do here. So what is the work we need to be doing here?

“The best thing we can do for LGBT couples right now in Pennsylvania is make sure they’re not getting discriminated against,” he says, referring to Pennsylvania House Bill 300, legislation that would protect Pennsylvania LGBTers from being discriminated against in the workplace and other public accommodations. “The recognition of our relationships is coming, but what we need to make sure of is that people won’t be getting fired from their jobs for putting wedding photos on their desk.”

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