- Associated Press - Thursday, October 30, 2014

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia’s city council has passed a bill authorizing added penalties for gender identity and sexual orientation hate crimes that aren’t covered under state law.

The administration-backed bill won unanimous approval Thursday. Mayor Michael Nutter has two weeks to sign it into law.

Backers say the bill fixes a gap in state law exposed by an assault last month on a same-sex couple in Center City.

Prosecutors said they couldn’t charge the slur-spewing assailants with a hate crime because sexual orientation isn’t covered in the state’s hate crime law.

The state Supreme Court struck gender identity and sexual orientation from the state law in 2008. Efforts to restore them haven’t made it out of committee.

Councilman Jim Kenney says the city couldn’t wait until the state “comes to its senses.”

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