Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Speak Out Against Hate Crimes

On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Bill. Now, such an Act already exists for hate crimes related to race, religion and sex, but it does not include support for local law enforcement agencies to investigate hate crimes related to disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

This should be a no-brainer vote.

It won't be because the radical right (I just cannot bear to label them as the "religious" right any longer) is lobbying heavily against it. For example, here's some of what the Family Research Council says on its web site, labeling the bill the "Thought Crime" bill:

Whereas one purpose of so-called "hate crimes" laws is to increase punishment for the thoughts a person may have been having while committing a crime, meaning such laws are really thought crimes laws, and;Whereas increasing punishment for a criminal's thoughts could quickly be expanded to outlawing the expression of other thoughts that liberal legislators and activist judges, under pressure from homosexual activists, list as "hateful," including sincere religious convictions and Bible-based moral values such as opposition to homosexual behavior, and...

But, that's not what the bill says at's not about what people think or what they say, it's about what happens when they commit physical violence against people because they are disabled, gay or lesbian, or transgender.

The radical right has nothing to fear from this bill unless they or their supporters commit physical violence against people because of their orientation or identity.

You can help make sure that your Representative understands the difference. Call the Capitol Switchboard at 203-224-3121, give them your zip code, and leave a message to vote yes.

Hate is not a moral value.

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