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Sen. Ferlo makes it official: "I'm gay"

He's gay and he loves it. Get over it.

With those words, Sen. Jim Ferlo, one of the chamber's most liberal Democrats, officially broke the news. He said he never really kept it a secret - friends, family and colleagues knew. He just didn't feel the need to wear it as "a billboard on my forehead.'

"I'm gay," the Democrat from Pittsburgh said. "Get over it. I love it. It's a great life."

Ferlo made his remarks at a Capitol rally for his legislation to expand Pennsylvania's hate crimes law to include crimes against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and trangender.

He said the decision to make the announcement then and there was spontaneous: it was just the right time, given the renewed push for his bill in the wake of the beating in Philadelphia of a gay couple walking on the street.

"The more that we have an open society, the more individuals we have that are elected officials that are open and public about it, I think it helps," he said.

"I think it was important in the context of today's commentary," he added.

Ferlo is not running for reelection.

But on his way out, he earned this new distinction: he became the Senate's first openly gay legislator. The House has two openly gay members, Reps. Brian Sims (D., Philadelphia) and Mike Fleck (R., Huntingdon).

--Angela Couloumbis

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