By Elizabeth Fiedler
Carrying signs and wielding umbrellas in the rain, hundreds of Philadelphia residents and officials gathered in Love Park Thursday calling for state lawmakers to extend hate crime protections to the LGBT communities.
State Rep. Brian Sims organized the gathering in response to a recent attack on two gay men in his district.
“Our state has a moral responsibility to address hate crimes, and we remain complicit if we fail to pass hate crimes legislation that protects those of us that are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender — or even perceived to be,” Sims said.
Sims applauded the work of Philly law enforcement in handling the case.
Caryn Kunkle, a friend of the victims, also spoke at Love Park.
“On Sept. 11 of this year, a group of young people came to my city to have a good time,” Kunkle said. “At 10:30 at night in Rittenhouse, they opened a conversation with my friends by asking the question, ‘Is that your f—ing boyfriend?’ And that conversation quickly devolved into a nationally broadcast incident.”
Philip Williams, 24, Katherine Knott, 24, and Kevin Harrigan, 26, all of Bucks County, have been charged in the attack.