It was the best of the times, it was the worst of times...
On the bright side, we now have two openly gay State Representatives - Mike Fleck (R) and Brian Sims (D.)
Mike is the only openly gay Republican in a statewide office nationwide - he came out after his reelection. Brian ran for his first term as an openly gay man. So in one fell swoop we have a bipartisan LGBT state caucus.
On the other hand...
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has opted to use some magical source of funding for a lawsuit against the NCAA over the sanctions levied against Penn State. You remember Penn State - the institutional coverup of child rape. Corbett - who is facing calls for his slow response to the initial allegations while he was Attorney General - thinks the wrong people are being punished.
While this may have negative fallout for innocent students and so forth - that's not the point. The athletic department covered up the rape of children. They also covered up 27 years of lesbian bashing by Rene Portland, but, heck, what's a generation of young women?
It is a strange set of affairs when Campus Pride bestows an award for LGBT Student Friendliness or some such thing and the Republican Governor cries foul for the poor treatment of the University - all while most of the investigation remains active, open and terrifying. Strange bedfellows and all that.
The other bad news is that erstwhile King of the Right Wingnuts State Rep Daryl Metcalfe plans to reintroduce a so-called marriage amendment in 2013. Apparently, his ongoing campaign around gun control and immigration reform aren't giving him a satisfactory feeling of demeaning the common sense of the PA voter - he's dragging the gays back into the mix with the promise of the most draconian bill possible.
As I like to point out, we have more than 250,000 unmarried heterosexual couples in PA and around 25,000 LGBT couples. Eliminating domestic partnerships and domestic violence protections is not exactly good for Pennsylvania. Or business. Or transportation. Or our schools. Or food banks. You get my drift
My fervent hope for 2013 is that LGBTQ people and our allies accept the reality of our complete lack of legal rights with the sole exception of a court case affirming second parent adoption. Sims and Fleck are already on board with anti-discrimination legislation and anti-bullying legislation respectively. That's where our push needs to be. But it starts with education.
The 2010 census shows that LGBTQ people are moving out of Pittsburgh - one of the mosts "rights oriented" regions in the Commonwealth; clearly, something is afoot. PFLAG chapters are forming and growing strong. So are Chick-fil-A franchises. Western PA is turning red and central PA is fading into purple.
2013 is going to be a helluva ride.