Corbett pulls an about face on LGBT nondiscrimination bill

State Rep. Brian Sims. Credit: Sims.
State Rep. Brian Sims. Credit: Sims.

As Gov. Tom Corbett faces an election year and low approval ratings, he about-faced Wednesday, and changed his stance on two bills that would offer protection against discrimination for LGBT residents of Pennsylvania.

The state House bill, which would shield against workplace, housing or public assistance discrimination because of sexual orientation, was snubbed by the governor originally.

State Rep. Brian Sims (D-Phila.), a co-sponsor of the bill, announced his support Wednesday for Gov. Corbett’s change of heart and said it “may be” a strictly political move.

If anything,” Sims said, “that’s an even stronger sign of support for LGBT civil rights, if a governor who fears he might lose re-election feels that he has to come out in support of LGBT civil rights as a way of rescuing a failing campaign, fantastic, I’ll take it, because he’s right.”

Sims said the goal for bill supporters remains the same.

“Our goal from the beginning has been to show people that they can support this and I think as we’ve seen with the Senator (Toomey) and now the governor is that Republicans can be supportive about this and we need them to be,” he said.

The bills have not yet been signed.

Although he voiced support, Corbett said he still does not approve of gay marriage.

City Councilman Jim Kenney, who joined Sims at City Hall on Wednesday, said “One step at a time.”

“The time has well come and gone for us to be fair to all people regardless of who they are or how they live,” Kenney said. “And I think it’s a wonderful step in the right direction.”

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