By David Artavia
Originally published on Advocate.com June 27 2013 5:04 PM ET
Pennsylvania state representative Brian Sims, the first and only openly gay member of the state legislature, plans to introduce a House bill to legalize same-sex marriage, he told Philadelphia Weekly today.
“About two hours ago, I shopped around a cosponsorship memo for a marriage bill, and I’m going to introduce an LGBT marriage equality bill,” he said, adding that yesterday's Supreme Court decisions “helped light the fire under my colleagues to do it now.” Rep. Stephen McCarter has joined him in the effort, he said.
The memo sent to House members noted that the legislation "would re-define the definition of marriage as a civil contract between two people who enter into matrimony, and eliminate the current prohibition against same-sex marriage in our Commonwealth. It is important to note that this bill provides protections for religious organizations and entities that do not wish to sanction, perform, or in any way recognize such marriages."
State senator Daylin Leach has introduced a marriage equality bill in the Pennsylvania Senate. Sims and McCarter's bill is the first of its kind in the House this year, while another House member, Mark Cohen, has introduced a civil unions bill.