- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania state lawmaker made it public that he’s gay while at a news conference with other Democrats to urge passage of legislation that adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s hate crime law.

Tuesday’s announcement by Allegheny County Sen. Jim Ferlo makes him the first sitting Pennsylvania state senator who is openly gay, and the third state lawmaker.

Ferlo isn’t running again, and he’ll leave the Senate on Nov. 30 after 12 years. Ferlo also notes that he’s never denied being gay.

The new push for the legislation comes after a high-profile altercation in Philadelphia that left two gay men injured. Police initially called the case a potential hate crime, but Pennsylvania’s hate-crime statute doesn’t cover crimes motivated by anti-gay bias.

Defense lawyers say anti-gay bias didn’t motivate their clients.

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