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PA Rep. Brian Sims Says He'll Bring Philly Gay Bash Victims to Capitol to Pass Hate Crime Law

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As we reported earlier, the group charged with assaulting a gay couple in Center City, Philadelphia last Thursday won't be charged with a hate crime because sexual orientation is not included in the state's hate crime statutes.

SimsBut Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims tellsVictor Fiorillo at Philly Mag that he'll bring the victims to the state legislature to try and get a hate crime bill passed that was introduced during the 2013 session.

Sims says that he hasn't yet spoken with the victims of last week's Center City attack of two gay men, simply because he's been told that they need time to heal. "I want them speaking with victims' advocates right now, not with me over policy," he explains. "But we'll find the time. I have to make sure that something comes of this, not just that I'm pissed off."

The bill would add gender identity, sexual orientation, and physical and mental disability to the state's hate crime law.

Hopefully this incident has awakened the public and lawmakers of the need for such additions.


Catholic High School Coach Fired for Alleged Role in Philadelphia Attack On Gay Couple - VIDEO

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An assistant basketball coach at a Catholic high school has been fired in connection with the brutal attack on a gay couple last Thursday in Philadelphia. Fran McGlinn, who had been serving on a contract basis with Archbishop Wood High School in neighboring Warminster, Pennsylvania, allegedly participated in the beating and robbery that left one victim with facial fractures and a jaw that had to be wired shut.

Said Kenneth Gavin, a spokesman for the Archdioceses of Philadelphia: "He was terminated this evening and will not be permitted to coach in any archdiocesan school. We expect all those who work with students in our schools to model appropriate Christian behavior at all times."

AttackAnd although no arrests have been made, at least a few of the alleged assailants have been interviewed by investigators - thanks in part to the work of Twitter and Facebook sleuths who helped police identify the attackers. Defense attorneys who represent some of the members of the anti-gay mob are claiming that it was actually the victim who started the fight. 

Watch a CBS Philly report on the developing case, AFTER THE JUMP...

The station adds that attacks based on sexual orientation are not classified as "hate crimes" under Pennsylvania law. This morning, Caryn Kunkle, a spokesperson for the victims in the attack, launched a petition asking lawmakers to amend the state's hate crimes laws to include sexual orientation. 

Continue reading "Catholic High School Coach Fired for Alleged Role in Philadelphia Attack On Gay Couple - VIDEO" »


Twitter Crowdsources Manhunt for Philadelphia Hate-Crime Attackers, Suspects Turn Themselves In: VIDEO

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Yesterday, we told you about a brutal hate crime that took place in Philadelphia's City Center. Last night, Philadelphia Police released a surveillance video that appeared to show a group of up to 12 people they identified as suspects in the assault. Shortly thereafter, the video spread like wildfire on social media and resulted in the suspects being identified. Philadelphia Magazine reports: 

PhillyWithin hours, former Real Housewives of New Jersey castmate Greg Bennett tweeted this photo [pictured right] that he claims — because of similarities in clothing — includes some of the alleged suspects in the hate crime that happened on Thursday in Center City. 

Not long after, police were contacted by lawyers for the suspects. 6ABC reports: "Late Tuesday night, Action News has learned attorneys for some members of the group have called police. They are making arrangements to bring their clients in for questioning on Wednesday."

Twitter user @FanSince09 also played a pivotal role in identifying the suspects. He was able to identify the restaurant shown in the background of the photo tweeted by Bennett and also used Facebook check-ins to help identify the attackers. 

No arrests have been made, but Philadelphia police are crediting Twitter and social media users with helping to solve this case.

Philadelphia native and NPR social media guru Melody Kramer documented how the crowdsourced Twitter sleuthing went down using Storify. Check out her excellent timeline along with a news report that shows the surveillance video in question and includes an interview with @FanSince09, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Twitter Crowdsources Manhunt for Philadelphia Hate-Crime Attackers, Suspects Turn Themselves In: VIDEO" »


Philadelphia Gay Couple Beaten In Possible Hate Crime - VIDEO

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Philadelphia police are investigating a possible hate crime in which two gay men were attacked, beaten and robbed last Thursday night.

According to NBC10, the 27-year-old and 28-year-old victims were walking from a restaurant at around 10:45 p.m. when they were approached by a visibly intoxicated group of two men and six women.

When one of the men replied “Yes, do you have a problem?” when asked “Is this your fucking boyfriend?”, the group allegedly attacked the men, punching and kicking them in the face, head and chest. One of the suspects also snatched a bag containing a cell phone, wallet and credit cards.

One of the men underwent surgery last Sunday morning and has since been released from hospital.

Police, who have not confirmed that the attack was a hate crime, say the two male suspects had a "husky" build, brown hair and were wearing brown shirts and shorts.

Watch a Fox 29 report on the attack, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Philadelphia Gay Couple Beaten In Possible Hate Crime - VIDEO" »


Out PA Lawmaker Brian Sims Rappels Down Building In Philadelphia: VIDEO

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Brian Sims, the out Pennsylvania lawmaker who has been an outspoken advocate for the LGBT community, looked more like an adrenaline junkie than a state representative today as he was seen rappelling down the side of Philadelphia's Commerce Center Building in City Center. As Philly Magazine reports, Sims was practicing for an upcoming charity event on October 24 where he will rappel down Brandywine Realty Trust’s One Logan Square: "He, along with a team of local LGBTers lead by Angela Giampolo, are taking on the task to raise money for The Philadelphia Outward Bound School."

Watch a video of Sims' adventure, AFTER THE JUMP...

And ICYMI, be sure to peep Sims striking a pose (in a Towleroad tee no less!) in Emil Cohen's Provincetown portraits

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Continue reading "Out PA Lawmaker Brian Sims Rappels Down Building In Philadelphia: VIDEO" »


Rose Of Tralee Maria Walsh Reveals She's Gay - VIDEO

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Philadelphia Rose Maria Walsh, the 2014 winner of Irish international beauty pageant The Rose of Tralee, has revealed that she is gay, reports The Independent.

Now in its 55th year, the Rose of Tralee includes young women of Irish descent from Ireland and around the world. 

In an interview with the Irish Sun, Walsh, who was crowned the new Rose in County Kerry on Saturday night, said:

"I'm confident in who I am as a person. The Rose of Tralee is about celebrating women's intelligence, careers, their volunteer work. The question of sexuality never came up. To me, being gay is normal. It's natural."

Walsh is a Boston native who moved to County Mayo with her family 20 years ago. Following her graduation, she moved to New York and later to Philadelphia.

Last week, reigning Miss Spain Patricia Yurena became the first openly gay national pageant queen.

Watch an interview with Walsh, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Rose Of Tralee Maria Walsh Reveals She's Gay - VIDEO" »


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