News Briefing
Apr 25, 2013 | 624 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Haverford ordinance challenged

Anti-LGBT activist James D. Schneller has taken his challenge of Haverford’s LGBT-inclusive anti-bias ordinance to state Commonwealth Court.

Schneller wants to succeed the late Fred W. Teal as a challenger to the ordinance, but a lower-court judge denied him permission to do so.

The ordinance was enacted in February 2011. It bans discrimination in employment, housing, commercial property and public accommodations in the township.

Additionally, it establishes a human-relations panel to investigate anti-bias complaints.

Violators face penalties of up to $5,000 per discriminatory act.

In March 2011, Teal filed a challenge of the ordinance in Delaware County Common Pleas Court, claiming it conflicted with state law.

But Teal died on Sept. 21, 2012, of natural causes.

In January 2013, Schneller filed a petition in Delaware County Common Pleas Court, seeking to succeed Teal as a litigant in the legal challenge.

But on March 1, Judge Christine Fizzano Cannon denied Schneller’s request, without elaboration.

On April 2, Schneller filed an appeal of that ruling in state Commonwealth Court.

Schneller, who lives is Radnor, is co-founder of Philadelphia Metro Task Force, an anti-LGBT group with about 75 members in the region.

“The denial of substitution for us in place of Mr. Teal — and we deeply grieve his departure — was overly restrictive and poor discretion, to the point of being reversible error,” Schneller said in an email.

James J. Byrne Jr., Haverford Township’s solicitor, had no comment for this story.

Sentencing in detention-center assault set for July

Kevin V. Hannig will be sentenced this summer, after pleading guilty to assaulting openly gay inmate Kenneth J. Houck Jr.

On April 18, Hannig pleaded guilty to one count of “assault resulting in serious bodily harm,” which is a felony.

U.S. District Judge William H. Yohn Jr. will impose the sentence at 1:30 p.m. July 18 in Courtroom 14B of the U.S. Courthouse, 601 Market St., according to court records.

Hannig and Justin O’Brien are convicted of assaulting Houck at the Federal Detention Center in Philadelphia in November 2011.

Houck was reading a gay novel inside his cell when they pulled him from his bunk and stomped on him, breaking his leg, according to court records.

Earlier this month, O’Brien pleaded guilty to assaulting Houck, and his sentencing is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. May 14 in Courtroom 12B of the U.S. Courthouse.

U.S. District Judge Jan E. DuBois will impose O’Brien’s sentence, according to court records.

Houck continues to recover from his injuries at the Federal Detention Center in Butner, N.C. His projected release date is March 3, 2018, if he doesn’t commit any infractions while in custody.

O’Brien and Hannig remain incarcerated at the detention center, pending sentencing.

Deadline extended in LGBT health-benefits case

A federal judge has granted the defendants in an LGBT-related spousal-benefits case an extension until May 2 to explain their position.

The defendants are ArcelorMittal USA, the Steelworkers Health and Welfare Plan, and the board of trustees for the Steelworkers Health and Welfare Fund.

The plaintiffs are Bryce Ginther and Kit Kineef, who’ve been married since last May.

Ginther works as an industrial electrician at ArcelorMittal’s steel mill in Conshohocken. He wants Kineef enrolled as a beneficiary in his health-insurance plan.

But the company allegedly refuses to recognize Kineef as an eligible beneficiary.

The men filed a federal lawsuit in February, alleging violations of federal law.

On April 12, U.S. District Judge Thomas N. O’Neill Jr. granted the defendants the extension to answer the allegations.

In addition to health coverage for Kineef, the plaintiffs are seeking $110 per day in penalties starting from Oct. 29, 2012.

The defendants” attorneys, Matthew S. Rubin and Jacob Oslick, declined to comment for this story.

Teresa S. Renaker, an attorney for the plaintiffs, also declined to comment.

— by Timothy Cwiek Asbury hosts first Pink Prom

Get ready to don fashionable gowns and tuxedos for Asbury Park’s First Annual Pink Prom, an adults-only dance.

The prom, from 8 p.m.-midnight May 3, will be held at the Hotel Tides, with proceeds benefiting The Pride Network. Tickets are $75 each and available at

The event is 21-and-over and includes free admission to Paradise Nightclub for the after-party, as well as hors d’oeuvres, a buffet, drink specials, entertainment, dancing and dessert.

For more information, e-mail even founder Eric Pinckney at

— Angela Thomas

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