Street Talk

What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving?

Emily Azbell
student | West Philadelphia
"My sobriety. I've been clean and sober for two years and 47 days. I was an out-of-control heroin addict. I'm so appreciative that my life is being put back together. The support of family and peers has been a true blessing in my life."

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Should domestic-partnership benefits be repealed, now that marriage equality is the law of the land?

Catherine Bouvier
software specialist | Old City
"No. Relationships are very complicated. We shouldn't be too rigid on allocating benefits. It would be fine with me if a family member like a sibling could be designated as a beneficiary of health benefits — just as long as you establish a tie with that person."
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Should the next Philadelphia police commissioner be selected from within the department?

Daniel Bowles
personal trainer | Bridesburg
"No, someone from outside the department should get the job. There's an issue with acceptance of diversity and lack of proper training in the Philadelphia Police Department. Given this history and track record, it's better to go outside for the commissioner."
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Is a $135,000 fine appropriate for a bakery that refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple?

Vanessa Bowman
fashion designer | Germantown
"No. That seems excessive. A fine like that doesn't fix the problem. It just creates more separation and division. The ignorant just get angry and lash out. So you're not accomplishing anything with such a fine. I'd rather see some type of mediation."
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Should parents have an option of ensuring that no gender is designated on their child's birth certificate?

Alieu Bangura
student | Delanco, N.J.
"No, for the sake of practicality, I'd have to go against that. We need structure in society. It would interfere with the orderly process of too many things. I'm pro-transgender rights but we need structure in society."
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What's your impression of the visit by Pope Francis?

Thomas M. Hoover
attorney | Gayborhood
"His visit was good for the city. I could have done without all the disruption but it boosted the city's image and helped us forget other problems, temporarily. I was touched that he went to the correctional facility. He showed people that no one is trash."
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Are details about Vesper Flanagan's sexual preferences relevant to news coverage of his crime?

Rebecca Farnham
marketing manager | Gayborhood
"No. I'm not saying the media should de-gayize him or pretend he wasn't gay. But it would have been sufficient to say Vesper Flanagan was gay, and leave it at that. I don't see the need to go into details of his sexual preferences."
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What would you say to the pope if you could meet him?

Brad Luna
public-relations specialist | Washington Square West
"It's time you repudiate the centuries-long homophobia leveraged by the Catholic Church. The LGBT community continues to be harmed by the religious discrimina-tion that you're a party to. You should join with the other denominations in fully welcoming all people."
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