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Pa. lawmaker renews push for LGBT hate crime law in wake of Philly attack

Pa. lawmaker renews push for LGBT hate crime law in wake of Philly attack

PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania lawmaker is renewing his efforts to pass an LGBT-inclusive hate crime law in the wake of a brutal attack on a same-sex couple earlier this month.

Brendan Boyle
Brendan Boyle

State Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Philadelphia) tells he plans to push to get his bill passed as early as Tuesday.

“It has been a year-and-a-half since I introduced it, and the Republican leadership has shown no willingness to move any piece of legislation that touches sexual orientation,” Boyle says. “But in the wake of this event, there’s a better chance of it happening now than months from now, when this issue will have receded from the news.”

Boyle says because the bill has already been introduced, co-sponsored and referred to committee, he is optimistic it could get final passage as early as Tuesday.

State Rep. Brian Simms, who is openly gay, has previously said there’s little chance of movement on the bill, but in wake of the attack, Boyle says a number of Republican legislators have told him privately that they want to help move the bill forward.

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On Sept. 11, a group of young adults are alleged to have brutally beaten a gay couple they encountered on a Philadelphia street.

After a number of possible suspects were identified by internet sleuths using police released surveillance video and a photograph taken at a nearby restaurant the night of the attack, police say they could be ready to make arrests this week.

While the incident has been widely reported as a hate crime, Pennsylvania state law does not include protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

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