House of Representatives Votes To Extend Hate Crimes Law To Gays

bradl

macrumors 601
Original poster
Jun 16, 2008
4,006
11,823
Hot on the heals of the gay marriage proposal in D.C, we have this. As they say on /., suddenoutbreakofcommonsense. Enjoy and discuss.

STORY

House Votes To Extend Hate Crimes Law To Gays
by the Associated Press
October 8, 2009

The House voted Thursday to make it a federal crime to assault people because of their sexual orientation, significantly expanding the hate crimes law enacted in the days after Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination in 1968.

With expected passage by the Senate, federal prosecutors will for the first time be able to intervene in cases of violence perpetrated against gays.

Civil rights groups and their Democratic allies have been trying for more than a decade to broaden the reach of hate crimes law. This time it appears they will succeed. The measure is attached to a must-pass $680 billion defense policy bill and President Barack Obama - unlike President George W. Bush - is a strong supporter. The House passed the defense bill 281-146, with 15 Democrats and 131 Republicans in opposition.

"It's a very exciting day for us here in the Capitol," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), saying hate crimes legislation was on her agenda when she first entered Congress 22 years ago.

She said it's been 11 years since the gay Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard, whose name was attached to the legislation, was murdered.

The late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) was a longtime advocate of the legislation.

Many Republicans, normally stalwart supporters of defense bills, voted against it because of the addition of what they referred to as "thought crimes" legislation.

"This is radical social policy that is being put on the defense authorization bill, on the backs of our soldiers, because they probably can't pass it on its own," House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio said.

GOP opponents were not assuaged by late changes in the bill to strengthen protections for religious speech and association — critics argued that pastors expressing beliefs about homosexuality could be prosecuted if their sermons were connected to later acts of violence against gays.

Supporters countered that prosecutions could occur only when bodily injury is involved, and no minister or protester could be targeted for expressing opposition to homosexuality.

The bill also creates a new federal crime to penalize attacks against U.S. service members on account of their service.

Hate crimes legislation enacted after King's assassination defined hate crimes as those carried out on the basis of race, color, religion or national origin. It also limits the scope of activities that would trigger federal involvement.

The proposed expansion would include crimes based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. It eases restrictions on federally protected activities.

Some 45 states have hate crimes statutes, and the bill would not change the current situation where investigations and prosecutions are carried out by state and local officials.

But it would provide federal grants to help with the prosecuting of hate crimes and funds programs to combat hate crimes committed by juveniles.

The federal government can step in after the Justice Department certifies that a state is unwilling or unable to follow through on a purported hate crime.

While Republicans voted against the defense bill because of the hate crimes addition, openly gay Democrat Jared Polis of Colorado said he would vote for it despite his opposition to U.S. military presence in Iraq. The reason hate crimes are so odious, he said, "is that they are not just crimes against individuals, they are crimes against entire communities and create environments of fear in entire communities."

Tom McClusky, vice president of the conservative Family Research Council's legislative arm said the next step likely would be contesting the legislation in court. "The religious protections are pretty flimsy," he said. He contended that Democrats were trying to move their "homosexual agenda" this year because it would prove unpopular with voters next year.

The FBI says there are some 8,000 hate crimes reported around the country in a year. More than half of those are motivated by racial bias. Next most frequent are crimes based on religious bias at around 18 percent and sexual orientation at 16 percent.
BL.
 

KingYaba

macrumors 68040
Aug 7, 2005
3,415
12
Up the irons
Feel-good laws

I don't know. I'm just going to type something and put it out there. I can't say I agree with hate crime laws but I understand the motive. You want to reduce violence aimed directly at _______ because they're _______. I am not convinced hate crime laws will deter hate crime. 1st degree murder, for example, is in my opinion inherently hateful. You want to kill him! That's the ultimate form of hate. Knowing why he or she committed murder certainly helps put pieces of the puzzle together but that doesn't help the victim.

Then maybe the goal of of these hate crime laws is to make an example? Show society that this isn't acceptable. But you have to keep in mind the legal system isn't supposed to benefit a 3rd party (society in this case). It's supposed to impart punishment and make amends for the afflicted. In this case, the dead person. That's kind of hard to begin with. For those crimes where the outcome is still the same, whether it's hateful in the sense that the motivation was race-based or homophobic doesn't matter. Someone's still dead or someone was still assaulted.

You're fighting against ingrained prejudice, right?. More legislation and punishment will not work. From what I understand, more jail time = greater recidivism. Not to mention the finances, the burden of proof, and complicating an already complicated situation. I'm having doubts a prosecutor will even attempt to prove something like this in court. You can't truly tell what someone is thinking. You're also flirting with thought crime with these sorts of laws...
 

dukebound85

macrumors P6
Jul 17, 2005
18,047
1,180
5045 feet above sea level
good move

hate crime is a hate crime and should be punished as such

in fact, any crime whose orgin comes out of dislike for an individual based off "association" with something one doesnt agree with as the sole cause should be considered a hate crime imo
 

Shivetya

macrumors 68000
Jan 16, 2008
1,543
223
Typical gutless Democrats in Congress.

Won't do this in an up and down vote for a bill standing on its own. They had to attach it to a bill that has to be passed.

So, the summary is, we don't really have the stomach to stand behind this issue on its own so we just attach it to something that has little ability to be debated.


Don't worry about the preachers and their sermons. First time someone takes this new hate crime legislation to court to go after a Church or its representatives the whole thing will be ruled unconstitutional. Again, simply adding more FAIL to the current regime.
 

Eraserhead

macrumors G4
Nov 3, 2005
10,300
10,362
UK
Typical gutless Democrats in Congress.

Won't do this in an up and down vote for a bill standing on its own. They had to attach it to a bill that has to be passed.

So, the summary is, we don't really have the stomach to stand behind this issue on its own so we just attach it to something that has little ability to be debated.
Yeah, I have to agree with this. Although the new legislation is very important and good, I don't like the idea of attaching it to something totally unrelated. Unless I'm missing something about how US law works.

I suppose this way Fox News can't have a spasm about it :rolleyes:.
 

themoonisdown09

macrumors 601
Nov 19, 2007
4,312
15
Georgia, USA
good move

hate crime is a hate crime and should be punished as such

in fact, any crime whose orgin comes out of dislike for an individual based off "association" with something one doesnt agree with as the sole cause should be considered a hate crime imo
I agree with this. I don't understand why they have to pick and choose what groups qualify as a "hate crime".
 

Queso

Suspended
Mar 4, 2006
11,832
7
Unless I'm missing something about how US law works.
That's exactly the way US law works. All sorts of legislation gets tagged into completely unrelated bills. It's an absolutely rubbish system that completely absolves representatives from having to declare their true allegiances on issues.
 

leekohler

macrumors G5
Dec 22, 2004
14,162
19
Chicago, Illinois
Should IT Staff have laws preventing hate crimes against them? What about bankers?
Excuse me? Wow- I never expected a post like this from you of all people. I didn't realize being gay was an occupation I chose. Thanks for the enlightenment. :mad: I'm hoping you didn't mean this like you said it, but I am really surprised you said it at all.
 

arkitect

macrumors 603
Sep 5, 2005
5,910
5,462
Bath, United Kingdom
I didn't realize being gay was an occupation I chose. Thanks for the enlightenment. :mad:
You didn't? :confused:

I remember the day as if it were yesterday…
I was 10 going on 16 and the Careers Advice people came to school and asked us all what we wanted to be… some wanted to be traindrivers, nurses (yes this was long ago), others dentists.
However, I had heard about the exciting opportunities offered in this bigoted world by choosing a career as a gay man.

Boy… did that go down well.

Anyway. Here I am. Almost 5 decades later and very happy in my "chosen occupation".
Oh, and the pension scheme is just fab.
:rolleyes:
 

leekohler

macrumors G5
Dec 22, 2004
14,162
19
Chicago, Illinois
its a choice as much as an occupation is.
No it isn't. Kindly take you BS to a thread where you know what you're talking about.

You didn't? :confused:

I remember the day as if it were yesterday…
I was 10 going on 16 and the Careers Advice people came to school and asked us all what we wanted to be… some wanted to be traindrivers, nurses (yes this was long ago), others dentists.
However, I had heard about the exciting opportunities offered in this bigoted world by choosing a career as a gay man.

Boy… did that go down well.

Anyway. Here I am. Almost 5 decades later and very happy in my "chosen occupation".
Oh, and the pension scheme is just fab.
:rolleyes:
I'm sorry- after putting up with crap statements like "it's a choice" for most of my life, when I know it damn well isn't, my civility flies out the window. I'm done being diplomatic and nice about this.
 

leekohler

macrumors G5
Dec 22, 2004
14,162
19
Chicago, Illinois
I'll have you know I am a tenured professor. ;)
:D

Oh and Lee, heavens. I was joking! Of course it isn't a choice or a career.
I know you were joking. :) I was referring to ignorant statements made earlier in the thread. You were being nice about it by joking, and I was saying I just can't joke about it anymore, that's all. ;) But then this shows up and is just too good...

Did you get a Bachelor's or a Master's degree? :D
Doctorate, sir. :)