July 3, 2015 |
It was a polite protest, the women wearing dresses and heels, the men in dark suits and ties. But when John James stepped onto Independence Mall on that hot July Fourth in 1965, he had a lot to lose. Being identified as gay - much less taking part in a public protest - could bring jeers, insults, and punches. He could be fired from his job if people knew he was gay. Psychiatrists then classified homosexuality as a mental illness, one that demanded a cure - electric shock therapy, or even lobotomy.
June 29, 2015 |
THE DAZZLING paint on the new rainbow-colored crosswalks at 13th and Locust streets in the heart of the city's Gayborhood had just barely dried. Preparations for the city's 50th Anniversary celebration of LGBT civil rights, just days away, were in full swing. And then yesterday, in the midst of this flurry of LGBT town pride, civil-rights leaders all across the City of Brotherly Love - perhaps the nation's most LGBT-friendly city - had something more to celebrate. Something not only big, but a long time coming: The United States Supreme Court upheld same-sex marriage.
October 8, 2014 |
Gay-rights advocates in Pennsylvania and throughout the country say they are encouraged by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision Monday not to take on five pending same-sex marriage appeals. The denial effectively legalized same-sex marriage in five states - Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin - and cleared the way for legalization in six others. Some advocates in the Philadelphia area viewed the court's action as a sign that nationwide legalization is just a matter of time.
August 23, 2014 |
On the day Mark Segal saw the house in Society Hill, he knew instantly that he would buy it - and did, that very day. Few real estate deals happen that way, but this was back in 1994, and Segal, founder and publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News and a national leader in the gay rights/LGBT movement, had a life filled with drama and constant challenge. Segal admittedly needed a sanctuary, and he instantly found it in the 1970s, three-story house with a contemporary look and feel. "Every time I walk into the den, I feel myself decompressing," said Segal, who shares the house with his husband, Jason Villemez.
January 6, 2014 |
WEST PHILA. A drama that drew the attention of the international United Methodist Church - a Lebanon, Pa., pastor who was defrocked after officiating at his gay son's wedding - could soon be told on a Philadelphia stage. West Philadelphia's Curio Theatre Company is writing a play about Frank Schaefer's church trial. Producers say it will give a neutral take on a case that highlights the divide over homosexual rights within the United Methodist Church. "It's a story that needs to be heard and should be out there," said the theater's managing director, Gay Carducci-Kuhn.
December 21, 2013 |
The Rev. Frank Schaefer was defrocked Thursday for refusing to abide by the United Methodist Church's policies on homosexuality, writing another chapter in a case that stirred a wider call for social change when he was put on trial for officiating at his son's gay wedding. Schaefer, of Lebanon, Pa., had hoped that the church's Board of Ordained Ministers would allow him to keep his credentials, effectively letting him stand as a voice for gay rights in a church deeply divided over its ban on same-sex weddings and gay clergy.
December 20, 2013 |
HARRISBURG - Within hours of word that Gov. Corbett would throw his weight behind a gay rights bill, reaction came swiftly, and battle lines on the left and the right were drawn again. Democrats welcomed news that Corbett - who had previously staked a position as a social conservative - would support a bill to bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, while some conservatives assailed him for selling out on Republican principles. And others on both sides of the issue attributed the governor's abrupt pivot to politics and as a way to salvage his historically low approval ratings.
November 23, 2013 |
United Methodist Bishop Peggy Johnson said Thursday that she wanted to avoid putting the Rev. Frank Schaefer on trial for presiding over his gay son's wedding, but that her hands were tied by the Methodist Book of Discipline. "I tried very, very, very hard to avoid this trial. I used all of the means I had to try to solve this," she said. "I did not prevail. " Her comments, made outside the Norristown office of the church's Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, came as the bishop was presented with a petition signed by more than 25,000 people encouraging her to stop holding church trials.
November 9, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania on Thursday joined nine other Republicans in a bipartisan vote hailed as a historic victory for gay rights, helping the Senate pass a bill barring workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a priority for gay-rights advocates since its introduction in 1994, cleared the Senate on a 64-32 vote, the lopsided result illustrating the sea change in the politics around issues concerning gays, lesbians, and transgender people.
October 24, 2013 |
Another day, another map in which Pennsylvania sits within the Northeast as an emphatic rectangle of red surrounded by a sea of regional blue. The issue is same-sex marriage, but it hardly matters, nor does the hue, olive, brown, whatever. In the Northeast, Pennsylvania is the state of a different color, consistently and almost exclusively apart on vital issues: gay rights, access to reproductive health, Medicaid expansion, voter ID. The message tends to be anywhere but here. Looking at those maps, I am reminded of that great Sesame Street ditty: "One of these things is not like the others.