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Kenney receives LGBT endorsement

Former City Councilman James F. Kenney received an endorsement for mayor from Philadelphia’s LGBT leaders.

Former City Councilman James F. Kenney received an endorsement for mayor from Philadelphia's LGBT leaders.

At a Friday morning news conference, state Rep. Brian Sims said Kenney has been a "tireless advocate" for the LGBT community for more than 20 years and wants him to be Philadelphia's next mayor.

"More than anything it's been having a guy that is so traditionally Philadelphian standing up for the LGBT community," Sims said following the endorsement announcement at the William Way Community Center. "It's brought us support, it's brought us allies in a way that we weren't seeing before."

Kenney was also endorsed at the event by other local LGBT leaders, including Mike Marsico, Kathy Padilla, Sharron Cooks, and Christina Kallas-Saritsoglou.

"As Mayor, I will continue to make sure that equality is not just a buzzword, but a way of life in Philadelphia," Kenney said.

He thanked the group who endorsed him for helping Philadelphia become "one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in the country."

During his time on Council, Kenney was seen as  a champion of LGBT issues.

One of the last bills he saw through before he left Council to run for mayor was making assaults on gays, lesbians, bisexual, and transgendered people a hate crime.

In 2013, Kenney was also the prime sponsor of an equal-rights bill that offers tax incentives to businesses that expand health coverage for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees - a measure hailed as the first of its kind in the nation.

The bill extends rights to "life partners" throughout the city code in a wide range of matters, such as medical decision-making; provides gender neutrality on certain city forms; and requires health insurance offered to city employees to cover the needs of transgender individuals, including sex-change surgeries.

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