Council May Beef Up City’s Hate Crimes Law
City Council members Blondell Reynolds Brown and Jim Kenney are expected today to introduce a hate crimes bill covering Philadelphia.
The introduction comes after three people — two men and a woman — were charged in a Center City gay-bashing attack that left one of the victims with a wired-shut jaw.
It would add penalties for crimes such as assault, arson or even mischief when the offender is motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.
Under their plan, anyone convicted would have 90 days added on to the jail term imposed for the crime itself.
Kenney said crimes of this nature are not covered by existing state law and are not defined in the city’s Fair Practices Ordinance.
“Unless and until the commonwealth of Pennsylvania extends protections to LGBT Pennsylvanians, then Philadelphia has a responsibility to do whatever is in our power to protect our LGBT folks,” he said.
“Right now, they are not protected.”
A rally for a state hate crimes bill is planned for 2 p.m. today at Love Park.