Radio PA Roundtable – April 7-9, 2017

On this week’s Radio PA Roundtable, the battle lines over the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court stretch from Washington D.C. to Pennsylvania. And just what does the state Department of General Services do?

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It was a good Wednesday for State Representative Brian Sims. He didn’t pass a major piece of legislation, and there were no breakthroughs on the major issues facing lawmakers in this final week before the summer recess. He’s also likely going to have to work all weekend as the legislature tries to wrap up the state budget by Sunday night.

Still, Brian Sims was smiling.

As the only person ever elected to the Pennsylvania state legislature as an openly gay candidate, Sims applauded the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that invalidated key provisions of DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act. The high court said it is unconstitutional to deny legally married homosexuals the same rights heterosexuals enjoy in marriage.

Sims will be the first person to tell you, though, that this does not open the door for gay marriage in Pennsylvania tomorrow.

The Pennsylvania political landscape remains one that represents an uphill battle for gays, but Sims believes LGBT issues have more support, bi-partisan support, than ever before under the Capitol dome in Harrisburg. He is currently pushing three bills dealing with anti-bullying, anti-discrimination and hate crimes, and while he knows gay marriage legislation is a no-go this year, and next year, he believes the future is hopeful.

Later Wednesday, however, Sims received a reminder that the present is not so kind to his cause. When he attempted to speak about the ruling on the Republican-controlled House floor under unanimous consent, he was cut off, consent was withdrawn and he was not able to speak on the momentous events of the day. The House then adjourned until Thursday.