Changing the State of Hate-Crime Laws in Pennsylvania

tumblr_madb5cLO0b1rdh3oho1_500On Sept. 11, two gay men, ages 27 and 28, were brutally gay-bashed, allegedly by a group of young people who were dining earlier that evening at La Viola in Philadelphia. The two men went to the hospital with injuries, one with a broken jaw that needed to be wired shut, all of which police say was preceded by disparaging remarks about their sexual orientation. Since then, it has been a whirlwind; after two weeks of investigation and through the help of social media, three of the alleged 15 assailants were charged with crimes associated with the incident—simple assault, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person and criminal conspiracy—but shockingly, hate crimes are missing among the charges listed. (more…)

Charge the recent attackers of gay men with federal hate crimes

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Last Thursday, two gay men, ages 27 and 28, were brutally gay-bashed allegedly by a group of young people who were dining earlier that evening at La Viola. Today, Philadelphia Councilman Jim Kenney sent a letter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office asking the Department of Justice to partner with the city’s D.A. and police to investigate. Kenney asked in his letter that authorities bring federal charges, under the Federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. (more…)

PhillyGayNews: Marriage equality is spreading like wildfire

 

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Proponents of marriage equality have been kicking butt and taking names over the last year-and-a-half! These victories leave us with 19 states plus Washington, D.C., where LGBTQ individuals have the freedom to marry. In an additional 14 states, judges have issued rulings in favor of the freedom to marry, with many of these rulings now stayed as they proceed to appellate courts.

Three states offer broad protections short of marriage: Colorado allows civil union; and Nevada offers broad domestic partnership and Wisconsin has more limited domestic-partnership laws. (more…)

Trans*itioning the gay-rights movement

TransWe just marked the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which sparked the modern gay-rights movement, with Pride events in New York City and San Francisco. The events featured transgender celebrities Laverne Cox and Janet Mock as grand marshals; the symbolic inclusion was an attempt by Pride organizers to signal trans-inclusion.  (more…)

PGN- the “Great Diaper Debate” and what a local resident is doing to move it forward

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Here’s a question most of us haven’t pondered before: What’s a dad to do if he’s out and about with his baby who needs a new diaper and there’s no changing table in the men’s restroom? As the dynamics of the “modern family” (and no, I don’t mean families with iPhones!) evolve, lawmakers are considering two bills with similar intentions mandating businesses to grant men equal access to changing tables.  (more…)

Legal Intelligencer: Would Appeal in Whitewood Have Helped Marriage Equality?

The fight for marriage equality has entered into a new phase garnering a different perspective with respect to legal strategy. Pennsylvania joined the ranks (becoming the 19th state) on May 20 when U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III of the Middle District of Pennsylvania declared that Pennsylvania’s version of the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, ruling in favor of the plaintiffs in Whitewood v. Wolf, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68937 (May 20, 2014). The elation was palpable in Philadelphia, as hundreds of LGBT individuals and their allies gathered on the steps of City Hall to celebrate no longer being second-class citizens in Pennsylvania, alongside the American Civil Liberties Union, the Whitewood legal team of Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller and several of the plaintiffs.

Of the same-sex marriage rulings that occurred in other states so far this year—Utah, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, Michigan, Oregon, Arkansas and Idaho—seven (except for Oregon) had their rulings stayed pending appeal, and thus those cases have been kicked up to their respective circuit courts. Unlike most other marriage equality cases, Pennsylvania’s decision was not appealed.