As a victim of gay bashing violence I know how important a hate crimes law is needed in Pennsylvania. One was passed years ago after much effort to get it passed but it was overturned by the PA Supreme Court on a technicality. Since then our LGBT population has not had the additional legal protection a hate crimes law establishes. We saw what happens last week when people think it is OK to bash and assault gays. A couple walking down a street in Philadelphia encountered a group of twelve young people in their mid-twenties and a brawl broke out. The two gay men wound up hospitalized with serious injuries. Three people from Bucks County, all in their mid-twenties, have been arrested.
Kevin Harrigan of Warrington, 24-year-old Kathryn Knott of Southampton, and 24-year-old Philip Williams of Warminster turned themselves in after an investigation by the City District Attorney’s office. While media reports have been saying this wasn’t a hate crime an examination of Knott’s Twitter feed shows a clear disgust towards gays. Witnesses have said some in their group asked the men if they were boyfriends and uttered gay slurs during the attack. That makes this a hate crime. Pennsylvania’s gay population needs the additional legal protections such a law would provide to dissuade such bigots from engaging in reckless behavior towards us.