News Briefing

Settlement reached in protest dispute

Both sides in a prolonged dispute about protesters’ access to LGBT events in Philadelphia have reached a settlement.

Michael A. Marcavage serves as director of the anti-LGBT Christian organization Repent America, based in Philadelphia. Four years ago, he filed a federal lawsuit, alleging that high-ranking Philadelphia police officials violated his right to communicate his religious beliefs at LGBT-related events in 2004.

In the settlement, the city agreed to pay Marcavage $4,000 and did not acknowledge any wrongdoing, according to city attorney Michael Resnick.

“We viewed it basically as a nuisance lawsuit,” Resnick said.

Chief Inspector James T. Tiano Jr. and Capt. William V. Fisher were accused of harassing Marcavage and curtailing his movements at SundayOut! and the Pride Parade and Festival in 2004.

After a weeklong trial in August 2006, a federal jury exonerated Tiano, Fisher and other police officials of all charges.

But in April 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit remanded the case back to the lower court for a new trial, citing faulty jury instructions by U.S. District Judge Petrese B. Tucker.

Tucker had set the trial date for Jan. 12, 2009, but that date was canceled due to the tentative settlement.

In a brief interview, Marcavage, 29, told PGN that he expects the settlement will go toward his attorneys’ fees. He declined additional comment.

— Tim Cwiek

Panel to address LGBT organizing

The William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce St., will welcome the local LGBT community from 3-5 p.m. tomorrow for a discussion with local leaders about the role technology can play in the community’s progression.

“Move Forward: Community, Solidarity, Technology,” sponsored by Delaware Valley Legacy Fund, will bring together such panelists as Gloria Casarez, the mayor’s director of LGBT affairs; Chris Bartlett, LGBT health activist; Nicholas DeRoose, president of Queer Philadelphia Asians; Brandi Fitzgerald, local community organizer; and Mike Morrill, founder of Keystone Progress. Along with Linda Widdop and Jeremy Heffner of technology company NPower PA, the participants will discuss how the LGBT community can use online tools to advance its goals.

For more information or to register for the event, contact DVLF executive director Perry Monastero at [email protected] or at (215) 563-6417 ext. 117.

Input sought on prison reform

The Support Center for Prison Advocacy will host a community forum to address the resources needed to support those returning from prison from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. tomorrow at The Philadelphia Recovery Community Center, 1701 W. Lehigh Ave.

Several local agencies, including HIV/AIDS service organization Philadelphia FIGHT, partnered last year to create the Support Center, which unites health advocates, religious leaders and community organizers in their efforts to assist those reentering the community from prison.

Tomorrow’s “Neighborhood Speak Out” will be the first in a series of community meetings where Support Center leaders seek ideas and experiences of formerly incarcerated individuals to create solutions to the city’s reentry crisis.

To register for the free event, call (215) 985-4448 ext. 136.

Food tour of the Gayborhood

The Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus will host “Gay Gourmet OUT-ings” from 3:30-6 p.m. Feb. 1, enabling participants to get a taste of the Gayborhood.

The tour will first head to a cheese tasting at Di Bruno Bros, followed by a drink sampling at PHAG and wrap up at Valanni for tapas and drink specials.

Tickets are $45 and proceeds will benefit PGMC.

For more information, call PGMC at (215) 731-9230.

— Jen Colletta

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