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)
"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:
Attendees 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)