Rittenhouse hate crime mobilizes inclusion of LGBT protections in legislation
The violent attack of a gay couple in Rittenhouse Square has renewed efforts of state legislators to expand legal protections against hate crimes for LGBT community members.
State Sen. Larry Farnese (D-Phila.) announced he will hold a rally on Sept. 23 in the Pennsylvania Capitol to advocate for the passage of Senate Bill 42, legislation that would expand the commonwealth’s hate crime protections to include Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) citizens.
“I’m also holding a rally on Tuesday to not only send a clear message to those who are unwilling to extend our current hate crime protection to our LGBT friends and neighbors, but to take an important step towards passing some important legislation that was drafted by my friend and colleague, Sen. Jim Ferlo,” Farnese said.
In preparation for the rally, Farnese sent a letter to Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R-Willow Grove), chairman of the state Senate Judiciary Committee, calling for the speedy passage of SB 42 in light of the attack that took place in Center City Philadelphia Sept. 11.
According to police reports, a couple was walking near Rittenhouse Square after enjoying a dinner out but were stopped by a group of two men and six women. Someone in the group asked the men if they were a couple. When one of the victims replied “yes,” the group attacked.
Both victims ended up in the hospital, and one underwent surgery for a facial bone fracture.
“If those attackers thought their actions were going to hinder our fight for equality, then they were sorely mistaken. Right now, there are many individuals and organizations — from community leaders like Rep. Brian Sims (D-Phila.) and LGBT advocates in the city of Philadelphia,” Farnese said, “to Equality PA and the Senate’s LGBT Caucus, have mobilized to keep everyone’s attention on the need to pass this legislation and make every one of our communities equally protected under the law.”