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Rosie O'Donnell Speaks with Twitter Sleuth Who Helped Identify Suspects in Philly Gay Bashing: VIDEO

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Twitter user @FanSince09, who played an instrumental role in identifying the suspects in the September 11 gay bashing in Center City, Philadelphia, appeared on The View to share why (and how) he decided to put his social media skills to work and help solve a crime. 

Said @FanSince09, who chose to keep his identity anonymous:

"I did maybe about 45 minutes of work, but with crowd sourcing, we got at least three people identified within two hours"

Find out how, AFTER THE JUMP...

Last Monday, a bill that would amend Pennsylvania's hate crimes statues to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity passed the House Judiciary Committee 19-4.

Continue reading "Rosie O'Donnell Speaks with Twitter Sleuth Who Helped Identify Suspects in Philly Gay Bashing: VIDEO " »


Pennsylvania LGBT Hate Crimes Bill Passes House Judiciary Committee: VIDEO

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A bill that would amend Pennsylvania's hate crimes statues to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity passed the House Judiciary Committee today 19-4. 

Tweeted Rep. Brendan Boyle, who introduced the bill back in 2013:

The bill now goes before the full House, which consists of 111 Republicans and 92 Democrats. 

Watch Boyle speak out in favor of the bill in committee, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Pennsylvania LGBT Hate Crimes Bill Passes House Judiciary Committee: VIDEO" »


Philly Gay Bash Victims Speak Out For the First Time Since Attack: VIDEO

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At a "Love Over Hate" rally at the Bucks County Courthouse Wednesday, the two men brutally attacked during last month's gay bashing in Center City, Philadelphia spoke out for the first time via a statement read by organizers, The Intelligencer reports:

“Everyone keeps saying that they are sorry this happened to us. But the truth is, we’re sorry. We feel sorry for our attackers — people who believed it was OK, cool, maybe even funny, to use two innocent individuals as their punching bags and not even have the decency to apologize. Words are powerful. A simple, I’m sorry, would’ve went a long way with us ...

“You butchered my boyfriend’s beautiful face. You violated our rights. You jeopardized our health and safety in a city that we love and during a time where so much progress around human rights has been made. ... We are also determined to do everything in our power to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else again.”

The men said they haven’t released their identity because the story is not about them, but everyone who lives in fear. They called for passage of a hate crime bill in Pennsylvania. “It stops here. It stops today. It stops now.”

SuspectsKevin Harrigan, Kathryn Knott, and Philip Williams, the three Bucks County residents charged in the anti-gay assault, will face preliminary hearings in court December 16. 

Said Caryn Kunkle, a friend of the gay couple [pictured speaking above]:

We really want change in Bucks County. We want to be known as a place for equality and togetherness.

Check out video from the rally, AFTER THE JUMP...

Earlier today, we reported on the Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee's meeting yesterday on amending the state's hate crimes statutes to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity.

[photo via Facebook]

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Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee Holds Hearing on LGBT Hate Crimes Laws

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The Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee held a public hearing on LGBT hate crimes Thursday - with lawmakers, advocates, and concerned citizens weighing in on the ongoing efforts to amend the state's hate crimes statues to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity.

CBS Philly reports:

Sims“We have an uphill battle in this legislative climate to pass LGBT hate crimes laws,” said State representative Brian Sims [pictured right].

Sims called the hearing, which was held at the Kimmel Center. He told dozens who sat in the audience the goal is to build a record to support an amendment that would add sexual orientation, gender identity and disability to the state’s hate crime statute.

Victims, experts, and LGBT leaders testified. Alicia Gonzolez of GALEAI says LGBT people are disproportionately targeted:

“Many gay bashing crimes are unsolved and many more are unnoticed.”

Earlier this week, we reported that a December court date was set for the three suspects charged in the September 11 attack on a gay couple in Center City, Philly that catalyzed these efforts to amend the state's hate crimes laws.  

[photo via Twitter]


December Court Date Set For Three Charged in Philly Gay Bashing: VIDEO

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The three suspects charged in the September 11 attack on a gay couple in City Center, Philadelphia will not face a preliminary hearing in court until December 16, according to NBC 10 News. 

The defendants, 26-year-old Kevin Harrigan, 24-year-old Kathryn Knott, and 24-year-old Philip Williams, are accused of aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and criminal conspiracy. The December court date was granted because attorneys for the accused “requested more time before [the] preliminary hearing”: 

6a00d8341c730253ef01bb078c5a13970d-300wiPolice accuse the two men and a suburban police chief's daughter with taking part in an assault that left one man with a wired jaw.

Despite the charges they face, the suspects -- through their attorneys -- insist the gay couple instigated the fight when one of them threw the first punch, and that gay bashing was not the motive

"With respect to my client, he was not the aggressor," said Fortunato Perri, an attorney for Williams. "[He] did not initiate anything and only became involved in the incident after one of the purported victims in the case punched one of the girls in the face."

Despite the defendants’ claim that they were not the instigators, reports have abounded that the fight was preceded by homophobic slurs hurled against the victims by the defendants. You’ll also recall the social media sleuthing done by activist Scott Wooledge who dug into accused attacker Kathryn Knott’s Twitter account and found a history of homophobic remarks. 

The accused attackers have all been released on bail. They will not face hate crimes charges as Pennsylvania law does not offer hate crime protections on the basis of sexual orientation. However, that may be about to change if State Rep. Brian Sims and State Sen. Jim Ferlo have their way.

Watch a news report on the latest update out of Philadelphia, AFTER THE JUMP…

Continue reading "December Court Date Set For Three Charged in Philly Gay Bashing: VIDEO" »


PA Rep. Brian Sims Joins Hundreds Rallying in Philly Urging Lawmakers to Pass LGBT Hate Crimes Bill: VIDEO

Sims

At a rally in LOVE Park, Philadelphia today, over 300 people showed up to voice their support for a legislation working its way through the Pennsylvania Legislature that would add LGBT protections to the state's hate crimes laws. 

Joined by openly gay Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims, supporters carried various signs, including those reading "Bash One of Us, Bash All of Us" and "Dear Hate, This Is #Knottyourcity" (in reference to Katheryn Knott - one of the alleged perpetrators in the September 11 attack on a gay couple in Philly)

Said Sims:

"There are some in Harrisburg who object to restoring sexual orientation and gender identity protections to the hate-crime law. But they haven't been calling for repeal of the law's remaining protections, for victims targeted because of their race, color, religion or national origin -- they know they would take a political hit for that. Unfortunately, they think there's no political penalty or constituent outrage to face for leaving out women, LGBT people, or people targeted because of their ancestry or mental or physical disability. Pennsylvanians who don't like this injustice need to let their state representative and senator know now."

Check out video from today's rally, AFTER THE JUMP...

The Intelligencer adds:

KunkleAttendees also gained a few insights about the gay men who were allegedly assaulted, after a friend spoke to the crowd on their behalf. Caryn Kunkle, a volunteer for the Roslyn Fire Co. who wore her uniform at the rally, referred to the victims as “Friend A” and “Friend B” and said the two are a couple.

“They are adorable together, and I love them for who they are,” Kunkle said.

Kunkle added that the first victim was an IT professional who was also once a volunteer firefighter in Abington, and that the second was a culinary artist. She told the crowd that the Sept. 11 incident occurred when “a group of young people came to my city,” and “initiated a conversation with my friends by asking 'Is that your f-ing boyfriend?'

“That conversation quickly devolved into a nationally broadcast incident,” Kunkle said.

In a statement read by Kunkle, the alleged victims said they had been called homophobic slurs by their assailants and were still recovering from the attack, but that they had appreciated the outpouring of support from the Philadelphia community.

Rep. Sims is also organizing a public hearing of the state House Democratic Policy Committee next Thursday on the issue of LGBT hate crimes.

And as expected, Philadelphia City Council members Blondell Reynolds Brown and Jim Kenney introduced a city-wide hate crimes bill protecting LGBT citizens earlier today, with Brown saying the bill had "unanimous" support from council. 

(Photo via Twitter)

Continue reading "PA Rep. Brian Sims Joins Hundreds Rallying in Philly Urging Lawmakers to Pass LGBT Hate Crimes Bill: VIDEO" »


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