News Briefing
May 22, 2014 | 662 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Memorial set for David Rosenblum

A community memorial has been scheduled to remember David Rosenblum, the director of Mazzoni Center’s legal-services department.

Friends and supporters are invited to pay tribute to Rosenblum from 4:30-7 p.m. June 3 at Prince Music Theatre, 1412 Chestnut St.

Rosenblum died earlier this month after suffering a heart attack. Apart from his work at Mazzoni Center, he was involved in and helped found a number of LGBT-rights organizations in Philadelphia and New Jersey.

— Jen Colletta Community invited to meet PCHR member

The local LGBT community has been invited to meet Pennsylvania Human Relations Commissioner Varsovia Fernandez at a June 3 meet-and-greet event.

The event is scheduled for 4:30-6:30 p.m. June 3 at the Urban League of Philadelphia, 121 S. Broad St., 10th floor.

Fernandez began serving on the PHRC in December 2013. She’s president and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“We want to extend this invitation to anyone in the LGBT community to meet Commissioner Fernandez and to relay their concerns,” said Shannon Powers, a PHRC spokesperson. “It will be a great opportunity to learn more about the commission and what we do.”

The PHRC investigates antibias complaints in employment, public accommodations, housing, education and commercial property. But its authority doesn’t extend to complaints based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Light snacks will be available. No RSVP is required

Challenge to Haverford law dismissed

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court has dismissed James D. Schneller’s challenge to Haverford’s LGBT-inclusive antibias ordinance.

The 2011 ordinance forbids anti-LGBT bias in housing, employment, public accommodations and commercial property.

It also creates a seven-member human-relations panel to investigate antibias complaints and allows for penalties of up to $5,000 per discriminatory act.

Schneller, who lives in Radnor, is co-founder of Philadelphia Metro Task Force, an anti-LGBT group.

He claims the ordinance violates constitutionally protected religious freedoms.

But last month, a three-member panel of Commonwealth Court ruled that Schneller and PMTF lack standing to challenge the ordinance.

“Where there is no obvious connection between Schneller and PMTF and [Haverford] Township or the challenged ordinance, and no discernible adverse effect to an interest other than the abstract interest of the general citizenry, we hold that the trial court did not err or abuse its discretion by concluding that Schneller and PMTF lacked standing,” the panel stated.

Larry Holmes, a member of Haverford’s board of commissioners, said he was “pleased but not surprised” by the court’s ruling. Holmes also expressed hope that the state legislature will enact statewide LGBT protections.

In an email, Schneller said he was disappointed with the ruling.

Scouts suit settled

Melvin J. Novak has settled his lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for allegedly not protecting him from a predatory Scoutmaster.

Vance P. Heim served as Novak’s Scoutmaster in the 1990s and repeatedly molested him, according to court records.

In 2012, Novak filed suit in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, alleging the BSA and a local Mormon temple failed to adequately screen and supervise Heim.

Common Pleas Judge Jacqueline F. Allen was advised of the settlement May 15.

Terms of the settlement are confidential, attorneys said.

In a statement to PGN, the BSA said it’s “pleased that we were able to reach a settlement on this matter. The behavior included in these reports runs counter to everything for which the Boy Scouts of America stands. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who may be a victim of this type of reprehensible behavior.”

A representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had no comment.

Heim, 62, is currently serving a 15-30-year prison sentence for possessing child pornography.

He’ll become eligible for parole on Aug. 16, 2027, according to court records.

— Timothy Cwiek

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