A surprising political twist
by Mark Segal
Jun 12, 2014 | 799 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The sentence that is about to be put into print is one that should surprise members of the LGBT community: The Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania has a more established record on LGBT issues than the Democrat.

An amazing statement, but facts speak for themselves. And in Pennsylvania, politics can sometimes be ... strange.

On talking the talk, Tom Wolf, the Democrat, is well ahead. In an interview with PGN, he said he strongly supports marriage equality and nondiscrimination, and he has met with LGBT leaders.

On talking the talk, Tom Corbett, the Republican, has been embarrassing on his statements on marriage equality. But, his actions give him a mixed record: He supports LGBT nondiscrimination legislation. He also has met with gay leaders. But he has not been interviewed by LGBT media.

On delivering: Wolf has created LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination policies in the company he runs and offers his workers domestic-partner benefits.

On delivering: Corbett hired open LGBT people in major positions before taking office. The chair of his transition team was a gay man. He issued an executive order stating that there would be no discrimination in hiring in his administration, similar to former Gov. Ed Rendell’s at the beginning of his term. On marriage equality, while at times his statements were an embarrassment, he decided to not appeal Judge Jones’ ruling a few weeks ago, thereby saving the state a mucho waste of tax dollars and allowing LGBT people to marry now, rather than months or even years from now after a lengthy legal battle. On LGBT and HIV/AIDS causes, funding continues to be on a level with the Rendell administration, and Corbett followed through by signing the final paperwork on funding for the largest LGBT-friendly project in state history, the John C. Anderson Apartments for seniors.

So for the first time in Pennsylvania that I can recall, the Republican gubernatorial candidate has a more established LGBT record than the Democrat. We are only talking on one issue — LGBT rights — no other issues. You might not like the messenger, but you may like the results.

This is clearly not an endorsement; to me this is a fun-facts column. We have much time to go before the election. And it is my hope that our issues will be brought up at the debates.

Here’s my personal point to all this and what I’m looking for: The unfinished business in this state since the 1970s is LGBT nondiscrimination. To both candidates, here’s my challenge: Show us a path that you will pursue to assure the passage and enactment of nondiscrimination in Pennsylvania.

Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. He can be reached at mark@epgn.com.

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