Philadelphia lawmaker Brian Sims, the first openly gay candidate elected to the Pennsylvania legislature, was sworn into office on Tuesday. Rep. Sims, who formerly served as board president of Equality Pennsyvlania, ran unopposed as a Democrat in the November election. He joins Republican Rep. Mike Fleck, who came out publicly as gay in December, as one of two openly gay lawmakers in the state legislature.
Reflecting on the year's victories for LGBT equality, Rep. Sims said, "The tide has changed. 2012 will go down in history as when being anti-gay puts you in the minority." Rep. Sims hopes that the presence of two openly gay assemblymembers will make it easier for the legislature to recognize the importance of legal protections for LGBT people.