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Content about Pennsylvania

December 16, 2014

Kathryn Knott, Philip Williams and Kevin Harrigan will be tried as a group for on aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy and other charges

Two men and the daughter of a local sheriff were ordered to stand trial Tuesday (16 December) in connection with the September beating of a gay couple in Philadelphia.

Kevin Harrigan, 26, Philip Williams, 24, and Kathryn Knott, 24, are to be tried for aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy and other charges.

The trio cannot be charged with a hate crime, however, because sexual orientation is not covered in the stat of Pennsylvania's current hate crime law.

November 9, 2014

Uganda pastor Martin Ssempa is notorious for the viral video in which he claims gays ‘eat the poo-poo’

An online petition wants an honorary degree given to a homophobic pastor revoked.

The petition is calling for support and wants the honorary degree given to Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa from Cairn University revoked because of his anti-gay views.

Cairn University, in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, awarded the honorary doctorate to Ssempa in 2006 for his work with people with AIDS.

November 2, 2014

Council passes new legislation after a gay couple was assaulted by as many as 15 people who hurled anti-gay slurs while attacking them

Philadelphia's city council has passed a bill authorizing added penalties for gender identity and sexual orientation hate crimes that aren't covered under state law.

The move was triggered in part by an attack on a same-sex couple in Rittenhouse on September 11 in which one man suffered a broken jaw, broken orbital bones in his face, and a cut that required 24 stitches to close; the other, facial fractures.

October 27, 2014

Loving dad said his love for his son is stronger than the love he has for the church

A Methodist pastor who was defrocked after he officiated his gay son's wedding is now allowed to return to work.

Earlier today (27 October), the Judicial Council ruled a Pennsylvania church jury was wrong to discipline Frank Schaefer last year.

Schaefer had been convicted for 'disobeying the church'.

The council ruled on technical grounds and did not express support for gay marriage in general. Its decision is final.

October 24, 2014

'They’re going to use every lever of power the government has to keep this competition of ideas silent so they can win the argument'

Young people are generally more accepting of gay people than their elders and this has Rick Santorum crying foul.

The anti-gay former US senator from Pennsylvania alleges the LGBTI community has 'effectively silenced the church' to the degree that the younger generation is not aware of the arguments against homosexuality and equality.

October 24, 2014

'They’re going to use every lever of power the government has to keep this competition of ideas silent so they can win the argument'

Young people are generally more accepting of gay people than their elders and this has Rick Santorum crying foul.

The anti-gay former US senator from Pennsylvania alleges the LGBTI community has 'effectively silenced the church' to the degree that the younger generation is not aware of the arguments against homosexuality and equality.

October 4, 2014

Oral arguments for the case will be heard at the end of October

The highest court in the United Methodist Church will hear an appeal of a minister who lost his position after officiating his son's same-sex wedding.

Reverend Frank Schaefer was pastor at Zion United Methodist Church of Iona, in Pennsylvania's South Lebanon Township, for 11 years when he was defrocked.

October 3, 2014

Couple feels sorry for group 'who believed it was OK, cool, maybe even funny, to use two innocent individuals as their punching bags'

A gay couple who were beaten by a group of people in Philadelphia last month are speaking out for the first time.

The couple., whose identifies have not been made public, had a statement read by supporters at a rally held at the Bucks County Courthouse this week.

September 23, 2014

Lawmaker makes announcement during rally pushing for state hate crimes laws to include LGBTI protections

Pennsylvania State Senator Jim Ferlo was at a rally Tuesday (23 September) to push for his state's hate crime laws to be expanded to include LGBTI protections.

Then he shared with the crowd some information he had never shared publicly before: he is gay.

'Hundreds of people know I’m gay,' Ferlo said. 'I just never made an official declaration.'

September 20, 2014

'It been really great to hear the response of the entire community. It’s not just gay people who are signing the petition'

A friend of the gay couple recently attacked in Philadelphia is now working to include sexual orientation in the state's hate crime laws.

Caryn Kunkle is a longtime friend of the pair and put up a petition, for Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, on change.org.

September 17, 2014

Troy Jónsson has never spoken about being raped by one of his brother’s friends. Now he shares his story with Gay Star News

Troy Jónsson stepped on to the Mr Gay World stage as a perfect pin up; handsome, athletic, intelligent, caring, confident. Nobody knew his secret.

He was raped as a 12-year-old boy by one of his brother’s friends.

Now he’s spoken to Gay Star News about that terrible day. It’s a story he has never even hinted about to anyone else in the world – not his friends, his brothers, his parents or his boyfriend.

Jónsson, 27 now lives in Iceland, the country he represented in Mr Gay World.

August 22, 2014

A 17-year-old left his parting note on Instragram, telling his followers: 'I’m sorry I’m not the daughter you wanted'

A transgender teenage boy has stepped in front of an oncoming train, killing himself months after he came out as male.

Riley Matthew Moscatel, 17, left a suicide note on Instagram saying: ‘I’m a prisoner of my own body.’

After the note was posted, he was pronounced dead after the train strike near his home in Croydon, Pennsylvania.

Friends said Moscatel had been researching hormone treatments, frustrated he could not start them until he turned 18. His parents had allowed him to cut his hair short and had bought him a breast binder.

August 12, 2014

Freida Hurdle had wanted to wait until after partner's daughter's wedding to get married herself

Frieda Hurdle died last week an unmarried woman.

She and longtime partner Lynn Hurdle were among the plaintiffs in the lawsuit that resulted in Pennsylvania's ban on gay marriage being overturned by a federal judge in May.

But the couple, already together for 24 years, did not rush to marry because the wedding of Lynn Hurdle's daughter was scheduled in November and they didn't want to steal her thunder.

In a tragic turn of events, Hurdle suffered a stroke last Friday (8 August) and died at the age of 50.

August 5, 2014

Bid launched to ensure religiously-affiliated adoption agencies continue to receive US funding even if they refuse to deal with LGBT prospective parents

The Family Equality Council is the latest campaigning group to react with protest at the news that a US Federal Bill could create, what it calls, ‘adoption discrimination’.

August 1, 2014

'... It’s hard to make the argument that any two people or any three or four people shouldn’t be able to get married'

Rick Santorum is making clear he has no plans to shift on his view of gay marriage if he makes another run for the Republican party's presidential nomination in 2016.

Santorum, who finished an overall second to Mitt Romney in the primaries in 2012, told Eagle Forum Live over the weekend that conservatives have to push back even harder against liberals who have 'devalued marriage.'

July 29, 2014

Michigan state Representative Adam Zemke has introduced a bill that would protect under-18’s from being subjected to attempts to ‘cure’ their same-sex attractions and is hopeful that some Republicans will vote for it as well

Michigan Democrat Adam Zemke has put a bill before his state’s House of Representative that seeks to ban so-called ‘ex-gay’ or ‘reparative’ therapies on minors that seek to alter a person’s sexuality.

Representative Zemke hopes Michigan can join California and New Jersey in banning attempts to ‘cure’ under-18’s of their sexuality while efforts to do the same in Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York state have been blocked or stalled.

July 25, 2014

Stonestreet's TV character recently married his male spouse on ABC hit

Eric Stonestreet plays one of the most high-profile gay characters on television while Rick Santorum is one of the most high-profile opponents of gay marriage.

So when the two men encountered each other at the White House Correspondents Dinner this year, Stonestreet was surprised to have the former US Senator from Pennsylvania ask to be in a photo with him.

The two-time Emmy winning actor just could not do it.

July 25, 2014

Stonestreet's TV character recently married his male spouse on ABC hit

Eric Stonestreet plays one of the most high-profile gay characters on television while Rick Santorum is one of the most high-profile opponents of gay marriage.

So when the two men encountered each other at the White House Correspondents Dinner this year, Stonestreet was surprised to have the former US Senator from Pennsylvania ask to be in a photo with him.

The two-time Emmy winning actor just could not do it.

July 10, 2014

US Supreme Court Samuel A. Alito, Jr. offers no comment in his denial of Clerk Theresa Santai-Gaffney's appeal

A Pennsylvania county clerk will not get a chance to defend the state's same-sex ban to the Supreme Court.

According to SCOTUSblog, on 9 July Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. denied, without comment, Theresa Santai-Gaffney's appeal of a lower court's ruling.

The judge's rejection seems to be the clerk's final legal option.

July 5, 2014

'Our plan is to file something with the US Supreme Court because we believe Theresa is a proper party and we believe that intervention is appropriate'

A Pennsylvania county clerk faces a difficult challenge in her attempt to uphold the state's defunct law against same-sex marriage.

On 3 July the US 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Theresa Santai-Gaffney's appeal of a lower court's rejection of her wish to defend the state's gay marriage ban.

In late May, US District Judge John E. Jones III struck down the state's prohibition against marriage equality.

July 3, 2014

Australian LGBTI rights activist Tony Pitman has crunched the numbers to find one-in-ten human beings now live in jurisdictions where same-sex couples are allowed to marry

A new analysis undertaken by Melbourne, Australia based LGBTI rights activist Tony Pitman has revealed that over ten per cent of the world’s population now lives in jurisdictions where same-sex couples can marry.

Pitman calculates that the legalization of same-sex marriage in the US state of Pennsylvania was the tipping point.

The world’s population is 7,176,000,000 and as of May 725,000,000 people live in countries or jurisdictions within countries where same-sex couples may marry.

June 25, 2014

Reverend Frank Schaefer performed son's gay wedding and was defrocked for refusing to promise not to perform more ceremomies

Reverend Frank Schaefer is leaving Pennsylvania and heading to California.

The United Methodist Church pastor, defrocked after officiating his son’s same-sex wedding, was reinstated this with back pay and has received a new assignment.

Schaefer had been pastor at Zion United Methodist Church of Iona in Pennsylvania's South Lebanon Township for 11 years when he was defrocked.

Schaefer’s request to be transfered to the church's California-Pacific Conference has been granted. He will be appointed to to the Isla Vista Student Ministry in Santa Barbara.

June 24, 2014

The Moravian Church in North America’s Northern Province voted Sunday to allow gays and lesbians to become clergy and also to create a religious ceremony by which to bless same-sex unions

The 2014 Synod of the Northern Province of the Moravian Church in North America has approved same-sex clergy and a new religious rite to bless same-sex unions in a vote of 181-62.

The province’s Book of Order will also be revised to reflect the new policy.

The Northern Province is the Moravian Church’s largest province in North America and covers churches in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington D.C., Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, California, Ontario and Alberta.

June 24, 2014

Reverend Frank Schaefer was convicted of disobeying church law when he refused to promise to never perform another same-sex marriage ceremomy

A pastor who was defrocked in November for officiating his son’s same-sex wedding has been reinstated with back pay.

Reverend Frank Schaefer, a Pennsylvania United Methodist minister, had been convicted under church law of disobeying the church after he refused to never perform another gay marriage.

Schaefer appealed his dismissal and a nine-member church judicial panel on Tuesday (24 June) overturned the church's earlier ruling.