Pennsylvania State Representative Brian Sims (D-Phila.), the Commonwealth’s first openly LGBT elected state official, and a civil rights attorney applauds Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s pledge today to not defend the state’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in the pending marriage equality lawsuit.
“We are certainly living in historic times,” Sims said. “Marriage equality will happen in Pennsylvania, the only question remaining is ‘when?’ When the U.S. Supreme Court declared the federal DOMA unconstitutional, the decisions thrust many states, Pennsylvania included, into the national spotlight.
“Attorney General Kane, Pennsylvania’s lead legal authority, has a keen legal mind and in her determination has decided that continuing to defend the Commonwealth’s DOMA has no legal merit. While this does not mean that marriage equality will become the law in Pennsylvania today, certainly AG Kane’s announcement is a step in the right direction to address the legal inequalities impacting LGBT Pennsylvanians.
“The truth of the matter is, our Commonwealth currently does not have a single LGBT civil right, and we remain the only state in the Northeast that does not recognize same-sex relationships. Non-discrimination, hate crimes, and anti-bullying laws all fall short in Pennsylvania in protecting LGBT Pennsylvanians. Right now, hundreds of thousands of LGBT Pennsylvanians can be fired from their jobs, denied housing and service at public establishments solely because of who they are.”
Rep. Sims, in addition to being a strong supporter of and whipping votes for Rep. Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny) and Rep. Chris Ross’ (R-Chester) non-discrimination bill, House Bill 300, is also introducing a marriage equality bill with Rep. Steve McCarter (D-Montgomery). The marriage equality legislation is the House companion bill to Sen. Daylin Leach’s (D-Montgomery) Senate Bill 719.