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Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims Pours a Bucket of Ice Water on Himself for ALS: VIDEO

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Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims is the latest high-profile lawmaker to take on the ALS ice bucket challenge. The viral challenge, which raises awareness of ALS involves people being challenged to dump a bucket of ice water on themselves and post it to YouTube, or make a contribution to an ALS charity.

We saw shirtless actor Ansel Elgort take on the challenge yesterday.

For those of you who woke up hoping to see Pennsylvania's bearish out state lawmaker get completely soaked today, you're in luck.

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

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'Hardball' Hits the Gay Marriage Rulings Sweeping the Nation, with Brian Sims and Ted Boutros: VIDEO

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MSNBC's Hardball covered yesterday's ruling in Pennsylvania and the large number of gay marriage bans being overturned across the country. NBC's Pete Williams joins Chris Matthews to talk about when a case might reach the Supreme Court.

Matthews was then joined by Prop. 8 attorney Ted Boutros and gay Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims to continue the discussion.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Philadelphia Mayor Signs into Law Sweeping LGBT-Inclusive Legislation

NutterOn Thursday, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (pictured right) signed into law legislation that he hopes will make The City of Brotherly Love "the most LGBT-friendly" city in the world. NBC 10 reports:

Nutter, city and state lawmakers and gay rights advocates said the legislation makes Philadelphia the first city in the U.S. to offer tax credits to companies that extend the same health care coverage to LGBT employees' domestic partners and their children as they provide to heterosexual spouses and their children.

Officials said the legislation also makes Philadelphia the first city to offer businesses tax credits as a way to encourage providing transgender-specific health benefits.

"My goal is for Philadelphia to be one of, if not the most, LGBT-friendly cities in the world and a leader on equality issues," said Nutter, adding that the signing struck a personal note because his friend, the late City Councilman John Anderson, was a gay man and a mentor who inspired him 30 years ago to pursue a life of public service. 

In addition to the business tax incentives, which were backed by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce as well as LGBT advocacy groups, and the gender-neutral restrooms (required in all new or renovated city-owned buildings), the legislation revises Philadelphia's anti-discrimination law to include transgender people, extends decision-making rights to life partners on medical and other issues, and changes city forms and websites to offer options for same-sex couples and transgender people. 

SimsState Rep. Brian Sims (pictured right), Pennsylvania's first openly gay lawmaker, helped draft the law's language. In a statement, Sims applauded the bills passage: "This is a city that is truly respecting all its citizens...It is because of that respect that we are indeed a first-class city and we will continue to shine."

Earlier this month, Sims introduced marriage equality legislation for the Keystone State. Pennsylvania remains the only northeastern state without same-sex marriage.  


Gay PA Rep. Brian Sims on Governor's Incest Remarks: 'Vote Him Out of Office'

In a Facebook post this afternoon, Pennsylvania's gay Rep. Brian Sims reacted to Governor Tom Corbett's remarks on a radio show this morning in which he compared gay marriage to incest.

SimsWrites Sims:

All day long I've been hearing about the Governor's comments earlier this morning comparing marriage equality to incest. In truth, I'm not giving him or his comments all that much thought and I encourage you to do the same.

No one, not even his own party, would argue that he’s an intellectual heavyweight or even a particularly thoughtful person. The larger issue is that despite the fact that the majority of Pennsylvanians disagree with him, he continues to be the heaviest hitter in Pennsylvania’s anti-equality crusade.

Our job isn’t just to be frustrated with the homophobia coming from the Governor’s Mansion, it’s to do everything we can to ensure that his chapter in Pennsylvania’s political history is as sad and short as his record on schools, economic development and civil rights.

Tom Corbett has been a disaster for Pennsylvania for so many reasons and I hope this fuels your resolve to vote him out of office.


Marriage Equality Bill Introduced in Pennsylvania by Gay Rep. Brian Sims: VIDEO

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Making good on their previously announced plans to make same-sex marriage legal in Pennsylvania, out gay state representative Brian Sims and fellow representative Steve McCarter today announced the introduction of H.B. 1686, the Pennsylvania Marriage Equality Act. The announcement was made, quite fittingly, at Love Park in Philadelphia:

Brian“The majority of Pennsylvanians now support marriage equality, and that support continues to grow,” Sims said. “Neighboring states, including New York, Maryland and Delaware, have all decided to be on the right side of history and have granted equal rights to their LGBT citizens. The time has come for Pennsylvania’s legislature to stand up and let our citizens know we see them as truly equal members of society and they have the right to choose whom they marry.

“With the Supreme Court ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act, it became apparent that Pennsylvania cannot continue to be stuck in the past. This is a civil rights issue facing our LGBT community. Furthermore, this issue is holding back Pennsylvania’s economy. People and businesses are seeing states that have true marriage equality as more attractive to them, and they’re spending their money in those states. This lack of equality is holding us back. Where are we at in our government where you lose rights by crossing a border?”

Sims and McCarter have been gathering co-sponsors and have received bipartisan support for H.B. 1686.

“This goes beyond simply legalizing gay marriage,” McCarter said. “This is about ensuring all Pennsylvanians have equal benefits and protections before the law. Marriage equality and the benefits associated with it need to be afforded to all of our citizens, and the people of Pennsylvania support that idea. The issue is getting our fellow legislators to listen to their constituents and the voice of Pennsylvanians who are calling for this bill to proceed.”

“An ever-growing majority of Pennsylvanians now agree that all consenting adults should be able to make life-long commitments to the ones they love,” said Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, co-chairman of the legislature’s LGBT Equality Caucus. “I believe the institution is strengthened when families – gay and straight – can choose the rights and responsibilities of civil marriage.”

McCarter“We’re in a situation now where we’re galvanized,” McCarter added. “The ruling on DOMA made it apparent that marriage equality is the correct direction for Pennsylvania to follow. With a companion bill in the Senate, there is no better time for Pennsylvanians to contact their legislators and tell them now is the time to act. We can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines and watch as the rest of the country evolves to accept what should already be state law.”

Rep. Sims also recently introduced legislation that would ban gay conversion therapy for minors in Pennsylvania.

The introduction of The Pennsylvania Marriage Equality Act comes amidst a legal battle over same-sex marriage in the Keystone State, stemming from Montgomery County Register of Wills Bruce Hanes's decision to grant same-sex couples marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted section 3 of DOMA in United States v. Windsor. Though a judge ruled that Hanes must stop issuing licenses to same-sex couples given the state's ban on same-sex marriage, Democratic county officials are appealing the decision.

Watch a video of Reps. Sims and McCarter making their historic announcement
AFTER THE JUMP...

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PA Rep. Brian Sims Announces Bill to Ban Gay 'Conversion Therapy': VIDEO

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Yesterday, Towleroad reported that Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims, the state's first openly gay lawmaker, announced a plan to introduce a bill banning so-called gay 'conversion therapy' for minors, or, as he calls it, "quack science." Here is Sims' press conference yesterday.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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