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Republican state senator who blocked LGBTQ rights charged with sexual abuse of a minor

Republican Pennsylvania state senator Mike Folmer
Republican Pennsylvania state senator Mike FolmerPhoto: Pennsylvania State Senate

Pennsylvania Republican state senator Mike Folmer has been arrested and charged with sexual abuse of a minor, possessing child pornography, and criminal use of a communications facility. Police were tipped off by the micro-blogging platform Tumblr after Folmer uploaded an incriminating photo to the site.

Folmer, a powerful committee chair, has blocked passage of LGBTQ rights legislation for years.

Related: The story of how Pennsylvania’s governor became an unlikely LGBTQ hero

In 216, Folmer blocked the Pennsylvania Fairness Act in committee, saying he supported LGBTQ rights, but was worried about “religious freedom” implications. “No one should be fired because they are gay,” he said at the time, before saying he didn’t see any urgency to pass the legislation.

In 2018, Folmer blocked the bill again despite bipartisan support. “Everyone is in agreement that we don’t want to discriminate against LGBT people, but we don’t want to step on the rights of people with religious objections,” Fred Sembach, Folmer’s chief of staff, told the Philly Gay News at the time.

Folmer, a married father and grandfather, uploaded a pornographic image to Tumblr that was caught by the site’s security measures. The site contacted the authorities who identified the disgraced politician as the person responsible. Other images were found on his phone when he was arrested.

Folmer told authorities he was having “some personal problems” when he was arrested.

He has been removed as the chair of the committee by Republican leadership while Democrats, including Governor Tom Wolf, have called for his immediate resignation from office.

Gay Democratic donor Ed Buck was arrested after a third overdose in his home

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