State Sen. Mike Stack has represented the Fifth District since 2001 and this election, he hopes to carry his leadership experience to the office of lieutenant governor.
Stack is a co-sponsor of myriad LGBT-inclusive legislation, including the marriage equality and nondiscrimination bills.
Stack said although passing a marriage-equality bill would be difficult under the current legislature, he would continue to advocate for the issue.
“For this bill and other issues important to the LGBT community, we need to make sure we elect better judges at the statewide level who will rule on these matters when lawsuits are brought,” he said.
Stack has also called on Gov. Tom Corbett to use his influence to have the nondiscrimination bill reassigned to other committees for a hearing and has co-sponsored legislation to include sexual orientation and gender identity in the state’s hate-crimes law.
Stack said ignorance about LGBT issues is widespread throughout the public and legislature.
“This problem is particularly true in Pennsylvania where we do not recognize marriage equality or have protections in nondiscrimination or hate-crimes laws,” he said.
Stack said he was honored to take part in the coalition to bring to fruition the John C. Anderson Apartments, the nation’s largest LGBT building project.
“I helped secure $750,000 in funding to make this project a reality,” he said. “Senior residents have moved into a new home where they know they will be safe and respected.”
Stack currently serves as a member of the legislature’s LGBT Equality Caucus.
“I have spent my career working to make sure everyone in our commonwealth is treated equally.”
Mike Smith (D)
Mike Smith made headlines last year when his Christian rock band kicked him out after he expressed his support for marriage equality.
The former Bradford County Board of Commissioners chair recently married his wife and said he wants everyone to have the same opportunities as he has.
“If I can marry the love of my life, why can’t someone else? Regulating marriage is an archaic practice and we need to overcome the prejudice that exists toward the LGBT community,” he said.
Smith said he would work to include diversity in his administration and said there needs to be strategies implemented to attract and keep a workforce that represents all communities.
“Discrimination at any level is unacceptable,” he said. “I would most definitely support the effort to include sexual orientation and gender identity into the state’s nondiscrimination law.”
Smith noted bullying impacted him as a teenager and said he would advocate for the LGBT-inclusive anti-bullying measure, the PASS Act.
“Growing up, I was often the target of bullying because of my socioeconomic status. I
grew up a trailer in rural Pennsylvania and, because of it, my peers often targeted me,” he said. “Bullying is a plague on our children and it must be stopped.”
Smith said, like the experience with his band, he would continue to be an outspoken advocate of the LGBT community if elected lieutenant governor.
“In early 2013, the members of my band gave me a choice: Either come out against gay marriage, or leave the band,” he said. “I stand here today in firm support of marriage equality. I will never let anyone change my beliefs or pressure me to change those beliefs, especially when it comes to LGBT issues.”