I used to be conflicted about hate crimes legislation because it seemed to me that it should be sufficient to make the assault illegal. What separate harm is done when someone wants to hurt someone because they are gay that isn’t present when hurting someone because they are dating your ex-girlfriend?
Answer: Hate crimes are directed at terrorizing a class of people in addition to the specific member being assaulted.
Also, because hate crimes represent a national problem, they are appropriate federal legislation. We as a country need to work to end terrorizing minority groups.
That is exactly what the Matthew Shepard Act intends to do.
Here’s a mini-film you can watch if it is your thing.
Here’s the text of the legislation if that’s your thing.
There is a horrible lie circulating that this bill will cause pastors who want to advocate for the damnation of people who are gay to be prosecuted by this bill. Here’s what you have to do to fall under the Act:
willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, or an explosive or incendiary device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability of any person
So, I suppose if the preacher could literally preach fire and brimstone into being and onto gay people he could be prosecuted. Otherwise I think the small-minded hate mongers are safe.
Call your Senators and tell them to support this bill, please. I left messages with McCain’s office and Kyle’s office.