Mayor of Reading, PA reverses course, will allow LGBTQ rainbow flag to fly

By : Wire Report
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READING, Pa. (AP) | The mayor of the eastern Pennsylvania city of Reading has reversed course and says he will allow the LGBTQ rainbow flag to fly over City Hall for the first time.

Mayor Wally Scott last week called off a scheduled ceremony to raise the “pride flag,” calling it a political symbol, but posted a video July 20 on his Facebook page saying he had changed his mind, the Reading Eagle reported.

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LGBT History Project: An unlikely advocate for gay rights emerges as America’s first equality governor

By : William Burton, special to Watermark from the LGBT History Project
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In April of 1975, a groundbreaking event occurred in the fight for gay and lesbian equal rights. In Pennsylvania, a state not generally known for liberal politics, a courageous and progressive Governor, Milton J. Shapp, signed an executive order that banned discrimination in state government. This was the first state in the nation where a governor had taken such action. It would be another four years before another state would take such a bold move.

In Pennsylvania, activist groups had sprung up throughout the state. Gay activist Mark Segal had been active in the Gay Liberation Front in New York (GLF-NY), and gained notoriety as founder of the Gay Raiders, famous for their “zaps.” As Segal’s visibility and reputation grew, he soon brought his urgent feelings of activism back home to Philadelphia, wanting to make an impact politically.

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Lutheran seminary fires president over LGBTQ ‘conversion therapy’

By : wire report
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The board of trustees at a prominent Lutheran seminary in Pennsylvania has voted to fire the school’s president after it was revealed she worked for a group that promoted “conversion therapy.”

United Lutheran Seminary said Wednesday it has fired the Rev. Theresa Latini.

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GOP lawmaker’s ‘I don’t like men’ comment stirs protest

By : wire report
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(Image from Rep. Daryl Metcalfe’s Facebook.)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — An outspoken and conservative Pennsylvania state lawmaker has stirred calls to resign or be demoted after he interrupted a committee meeting to accost his Democratic counterpart for touching his arm and suggest the man might be gay.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday called Rep. Daryl Metcalfe’s comments offensive and discriminatory, and said it is “part of a disturbing pattern of behavior.”

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Pennsylvania man sues VA, alleges he was fired because he is gay

By : Wire Report
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SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) – A former administrator at a long-term care facility for veterans has filed a federal lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, claiming he was fired because he is gay.

The Citizens’ Voice reports 48-year-old Michael Semian was fired from his position as a commandant of the Gino J. Merli Veterans Center in Scranton in 2015.

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Human Rights Campaign launches $26M campaign ahead of midterms

By : Wire Report
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WASHINGTON (AP) – The Human Rights Campaign, one of the nation’s leading gay rights groups, is launching a $26 million political organizing effort ahead of next year’s midterm elections.

While the effort is nationwide, the group is focusing its resources in particular on several key states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Nevada. All six states are expected to have competitive Senate races next fall, and each is a presidential battleground.

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Transgender students sue Pennsylvania district restroom rule

By : Wire Report
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PITTSBURGH (AP) – Three transgender seniors at a Pennsylvania high school, including the oldest sibling of teen singing star Jackie Evancho, have sued their school district for making them use restrooms corresponding to their biological sex.

The Pine-Richland School District in suburban Pittsburgh wasn’t commenting on the federal lawsuit filed Oct. 6 in response to a school board resolution passed last month requiring students to use such restrooms or unisex facilities. Previously, the district had allowed transgender students to use the restroom corresponding to their “gender identity.”

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Pennsylvania man accused of raping women says he’s gay, innocent

By : Wire Report
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UNIONTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania man awaiting trial on charges he raped two elderly women tells reporters he’s “an innocent gay guy.”

Forty-nine-year-old Earl Maust was in court Sept. 27 to face charges he repeatedly raped a 75-year-old woman who took him in for about three months when he was down on his luck. She contends the Masontown man was a violent drunk who kept a meat cleaver under his mattress, wrapped her hair around his arm when they slept, and otherwise wouldn’t let her leave.

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Men who beat gay couple are banned from downtown Philadelphia, avoid jail time

By : Wire Report
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Two men accused of beating a gay couple in a case helped solved by social media sleuths will avoid prison time under a plea agreement announced Oct. 15 that outraged members of the gay community.

Instead, prosecutors said, Philip Williams and Kevin Harrigan must stay away from downtown Philadelphia for several years, pay just under $1,000 in restitution and perform 200 hours of service at a facility serving the LGBT community.

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Man arrested in beating, shooting death of transgender woman

By : Wire Report
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A suspect has been arrested in the beating and shooting death of a transgender woman in Philadelphia.

Pedro Redding was arraigned Oct. 12 on murder, conspiracy and weapons charges in the Oct. 6 death of Kiesha Jenkins.

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Judge OKs transgender woman’s gender re-assignment surgery despite parental opposition

By : Wire Report
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DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A judge on Sept. 2 cleared the way for a 48-year-old transgender woman to undergo gender-reassignment surgery, rejecting her parents’ effort to block the operation because they say she’s mentally incompetent.

Christine Kitzler, testifying at an emergency hearing, showed a clear understanding of the three-hour procedure and its risks, Judge C. Theodore Fritsch Jr. said. He dismissed her parents’ demand that he appoint a legal guardian and subject her to an independent medical exam.

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Senate confirms transgender woman as Pennsylvania physician general

By : Wire Report
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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – A transgender woman has the approval of the Pennsylvania Senate to be Pennsylvania’s physician general in what one lawmaker calls a “history making” vote.

Dr. Rachel Levine unanimously won confirmation June 9.

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