US: Philadelphia City Council introduces hate crimes legislation
The Philadelphia City Council will vote Thursday on a city-wide measure that would add an amendment to the city’s hate crimes code.
Currently stalled in the Republican controlled legislature is a state-wide law that would include sexual orientation and gender identity. But since the state has not moved on the law after the brutal attack earlier this month on a Philadelphia gay couple, the city has decided to take the matter into its own hands.
The ordinance, if approved, would mandate higher penalties for crimes committed based on a person’s perceived gender or sexual orientation.
Currently, neither Philadelphia nor Pennsylvania’s hate crimes laws include gender identity or sexual orientation.
Councilwoman Biondell Reynolds-Brown, who introduced the ordinance with Councilman Jim Kenney, told Buzzfeed that it is the best opportunity to close legal hate crimes loopholes.
She said: “This is the right opportunity to capture all of the citizens who are not protected under the law… All of the members get it and understand the value in putting forth this important measure to close this loophole in the law.”