It was one of those oh-by-the-way moments — an afterthought really. It wasn’t supposed to be a coming out party.
Sure, the subject matter was serious, but in the end the mood was lighthearted.
Lawmakers gathered in the Pennsylvania state capital in Harrisburg on Tuesday to propose a major change in the state’s hate crime law to extend protection to those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
Lawmakers made their pitch for getting the legislation to the governor’s desk by the end of the year.
Then bill sponsor, Sen. Jim Ferlo of Pittsburgh, made his surprise announcement — very casually.
“Hundreds of people know I’m gay. I just never made an official declaration,” he said. “I never felt I had to wear a billboard on my forehead. But I’m gay. Get over it. I love it. It’s a great life.”
The announcement capped a momentous day for the LGBT community.
Earlier, charges were filed against three people in the recent beating of a gay couple in Philadelphia.
All are charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and criminal conspiracy, CNN affiliate WPVI reported. They could not be charged with a hate crime because
Arrest warrants have been issued for the three suspects and they’re expected to surrender to authorities on Wednesday, according to WPVI.
Later, Ferlo, who will be leaving the state Senate in November, said his remarks weren’t planned.
“It was totally impromptu. I’ve never denied it. I’ve never felt the need to talk about it,” he told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.