Council Members Push for LGBT-Specific Hate-Crime Legislation in Philadelphia

In today’s City Council session council members Blondell Reynolds Brown and Jim Kenney will introduce a bill that seeks to “close a hate-crime loophole that currently exists in the Philadelphia code.”

The bill would add a new chapter to the City Code that will provide “additional penalties for criminal conduct motivated by hatred regarding sexual orientation, gender identity and disabilities as defined in the City’s Fair Practices Ordinance and all of which are not covered by existing state hate crime laws.”

The bill comes after the gay-bashing that took place in Center City on September 11th. Although there are currently no laws protecting LGBT individuals from hate crimes in the state of Pennsylvania, this will at least protect Philadelphia citizens, much like our LGBT Equality Bill passed by Jim Kenney last year that adds specific protections for LGBT citizens in the city of Philadelphia.

“Philadelphia is known all over the world as a city that celebrates and values diversity and we will not allow a few thugs to tarnish that reputation,” says Reynolds Brown. “It is shameful that this legislation is necessary in 2014, but as Councilman Kenney and I have demonstrated in the past, we are proud to do it.”

You can read the proposed updated bill below. Stay tuned to G Philly for any updates on its (hopeful) passage.

§ 10-2101. Definitions.

(1) Hate crime. Commission of an offense under Title 18, Chapter 25 (relating to criminal homicide), Chapter 27 (relating to assault), Chapter 29 (relating to kidnapping), Chapter 31 (relating to sexual offenses), Chapter 33 (relating to arson, criminal mischief and other property destruction), or Section 3503 (relating to criminal trespass) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, against an individual or group of individuals or the property of an individual or group, accompanied by malicious intent as defined in subsection (2) hereof.

(2) Malicious intent. The intent to commit any act, the commission of which is a necessary element of any offense referred to in subsection (1) above, motivated by hatred toward the actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender or gender identity, or disability, as such terms are defined by § 9-1102 of this Code, of another individual or group of individuals.
§ 10-2102. Prohibited Conduct.

(1) No person shall commit a hate crime against another individual or group of individuals.
§ 10-2103. Penalties.

The bill would add up to 90 days in sentencing and a fine of up to $2,000, the maximum allowed.