Statewide gay drive for Obama to begin

Pennsylvania state Rep.-elect Brian Sims, one of the speakers during Tuesday’s “Philadelphia LGBT for Obama” kickoff at Woody’s Bar. — PHOTO COURTESY THING PROGRESS.

Harvey Milk would be proud.

The famed gay Californian legislator is widely credited as the first openly gay man to be elected to office, and to honor the trailblazing Milk, statewide volunteers for President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign will descend upon Philadelphia on Milk’s birthday for the “Philadelphia LGBT for Obama” kickoff.

The event begins at 7 this evening at Woody’s Bar, 202 S. 13th St., and will include talks and testimonies from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender supporters, including former NFL defensive back and LGBT youth mentor Wade Davis and Brian Sims, Pennsylvania’s first openly-gay state legislator-elect.

Jeff Marootian, Democratic National Committee director of LGBT and ethnic outreach, will also be on hand, as will LGBT activist and former City Council candidate Sherrie Cohen.

The gathering of such star power will hammer home Obama’s recent declaration that his viewpoint on same-sex marriage has evolved to one of understanding and acceptance.

All of the invited speakers are well known, both by peers in their respective industries, and to the LGBT community as well.

Davis, who currently writes for the Huffington Post, played for the Tennessee Titans, Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins and a pair of European teams before an injury forced him to retire from professional football, is probably the best known. Davis is also an active member of the GLSEN (gay, lesbian and straight education) Sports Advisory Board, and often speaks to groups about the issues surrounding the LGBT community.

“President Obama believes that America is strongest when everybody has a seat at the table. That’s why he’s expanded opportunity for every American by repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ ensuring hospital visitation rights for LGBT patients and their loved ones, and extending key benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees,” read a statement from Obama for America PA — Obama’s official statewide reelection manager. “LGBT for Obama volunteers are working hard to build a strong foundation for winning LGBT voters, their families and allied voters come November.”

 

Contact staff writer Damon C. Williams at (215) 893-5745 or dwilliams@phillytrib.com.

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