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Philly attorney becomes Pennsylvania’s first openly gay state legislator

Friday, November 9, 2012
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Philadelphia policy attorney and civil rights advocate Brian Sims was elected Tuesday to represent Pennsylvania’s 182nd District, and becomes the state’s first openly gay state legislator.

Brian Sims

Sims had run unopposed and didn’t face a Republican opponent in Tuesday’s elections, however, there had been a chance that an Independent could have stepped up and announced a bid for the seat.

He defeated longtime incumbent Rep. Babette Josephs in the primary election in April. Josephs was also an LGBT ally.

“I’m honored by the support, humbled by all the hard work, and ready to take the Capitol by storm… a Progressive Storm!,” wrote to his supporters on Facebook Tuesday evening.

I’m hopeful that when the dust settles, not only will I be joined by other out, LGBT state legislators in Pennsylvania, but hopefully dozens more in legislatures across the country, and our first ever out Senator!” he added.

In 2000, Sims was the co-captain of the Bloomsburg (Pa.) University football team, and was recognized as a scholar athlete. Following the longest season in the Division II schools history, Sims came out as gay. In doing so, the regional All-American and team captain became the only openly gay college football captain in NCAA history.

Sims has previously served as the President of Equality Pennsylvania, and as the Chairman of the Gay and Lesbian Lawyers of Philadelphia. In 2010, he was selected as one of the Top 40 LGBT Attorneys Under 40 in the U.S. by the National LGBT Bar Association.

Three other candidates from the LGBT community were also seeking seats in the state’s General Assembly: Jeff Dahlander (Dist. 111), Chris Dietz (Dist. 104) and Kelly Jean McEntee (Dist. 105). All three were were unsuccessful.

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