News Briefing

News Briefing

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Litigant continues marriage-equality challenge

Antigay activist James D. Schneller still wants to intervene in a federal marriage-equality lawsuit filed by the ACLU, despite being denied by a federal judge.

LGBT advocates hope the case, known as Whitewood v. Wolf, will result in marriage equality in Pennsylvania.

Schneller, however, contends that marriage equality would violate laws that ensure religious freedoms.

On March 17, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones 3d denied Schneller’s earlier request to intervene in the Whitewood case.

But on March 25, Schneller filed a new 28-page request, claiming he has a personal stake in the matter and should be permitted to intervene.

He also asked Jones to refer the case to state Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane, for possible criminal violations.

At presstime, Schneller’s requests remained pending with Jones. Schneller couldn’t be reached for comment.

Settlement conference set in bullying case

A settlement conference has been scheduled for later this month in the case of a New Jersey boy who allegedly suffered antigay bullying in a New Jersey public school.

Thomas Vandergrift, a Philadelphia gay man, contends his nephew had to be removed from a Pennsauken public school in 2012 due to pervasive antigay bullying.

In December 2012, Vandergrift filed suit against the Pennsauken School District and various officials in federal court, seeking an unspecified amount in compensatory and punitive damages.

The case remains pending before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joel Schneider.

Schneider recently ordered an in-person settlement conference for 10 a.m. April 30 at the U.S. Court House in Camden.

Failure to participate in the settlement conference could result in sanctions, according to the judge’s order.

The 13-year-old boy, identified in court papers as D.V., suffers from autism, generalized anxiety disorder and a learning disability in math.

Vandergrift also contends school officials wrongly accused him of child molestation after he advocated for his nephew.

In October 2011, the state Department of Children and Families determined that the molestation accusations against Vandergrift were unsubstantiated.

In September 2012, after a separate lawsuit was filed, district officials agreed to pay for D.V.’s education at a private school, where he’s currently enrolled.

Neither side had a comment for this story.

— Tim Cwiek

‘Prairie’ star comes to Philly

“Little House on the Prairie” star Alison Arngrim will pay a visit to Philadelphia April 24.

Anrgrim will present “Confessions of a Prairie Bitch” at 8 p.m. at Voyeur Nightclub, 1221 St. James St. VIP tickets are $40 and include preferred seating, a signed photo and a backstage meet and greet.

Tickets can be purchased at; those who use promo code “waygay” get $5 off their ticket price. A portion of ticket sales will benefit William Way LGBT Community Center.

Get outdoors with picnic

The fourth-annual Lesbian Women of Color Family Day will be held 9 a.m.-6 p.m. April 27 at Lemon Hill, 3100 Poplar Dr.

Participants are encouraged to bring their own food and beverages to share, as well as chairs, tables, grilling materials and trash bags for clean-up.

The event will include a talent show, a live DJ, family games, face painting, pie-eating contests and sports such as kickball, volleyball and flag football.

For more information, call Ajourdi Hargrove at 215-316-0155.

MACT celebrates 33 years

Men of All Colors Together Philadelphia will mark its 33rd anniversary next month.

MACT will host a meet and greet and awards ceremony from 7:30-9:30 p.m. May 2 at William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce St.

From 1-2:15 p.m. May 3, the organization will stage “Theatre of Understanding: Community Now ... What is Our Future?” at University of the Arts, Terra Hall, Room 833, 211 S. Broad St. The event will be open to the public and free of charge.

Reservations are required for the banquet and silent auction from 6-10 p.m. May 3 at Venture Inn, 255 S. Camac St.

MACT will also host a Sunday brunch during Equality Forum’s SundayOUT! at Darling’s Diner, 1033 N. Second St. Reservations are required for the brunch.

For more information, visit

— Angela Thomas

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