Hate Crimes Veto

03May07

The White House is threatening to veto the Hate Crimes bill that just passed in the House today. The reasoning for it has been fuzzy so far, but the official statement so far is that “there has been no persuasive demonstration of any need to federalize such a potentially large range of violent crime enforcement.”  But, judging by the outrage from extreme conservative Christian groups, it’s more than clear that the veto is motivated by Bush’s attempt to appease his tightest base.  I’m not sure what’s un-Christian about protecting gays from violent crime.  (Bear in mind that if a straight person were confused for a gay person, he too could become the victim of a gay hate crime.)  However, when Focus on the Family speaks, Bush listens.

More details are likely to unfold and Bush will no doubt be releasing a more polished statement soon. But, in the mean time, House Minority Leader John Boehner has spoken out against the bill, claiming that it’s “scary”:

I mean, it’s a crime on what people were thinking when they were committing an act of violence. How do you walk into court and make a case for a crime because someone was thinking something bad. I just think it takes us down a path that is very scary.

However, he and the right wing are being very very misleading on this one.  Wrong, in fact.  As explained by the Center for American Progress:

The right-wing is wrong. This legislation goes after criminal action, like physical assaults, not name-calling or verbal abuse. The bill clearly states that “evidence of expression or associations of the defendant may not be introduced as substantive evidence at trial, unless the evidence specifically relates to that offense.”

C.A.P. goes into more detail in today’s Progress Report.

This will be Bush’s 3rd veto in his entire term.  He vetoed a stem cell research bill (which could have saved American lives), the recent Iraq War funding bill with a timetable for withdrawal (which could have saved more American lives),  and now he’s denying the most basic of human rights to American homosexuals and the unfortunate ones who may accidentally be mistaken for them.  “Pro Life” indeed!

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One Response to “Hate Crimes Veto”

  1. The opposition to the H.R. 1592 is far less logical and more unhunged than normal, perhaps driven by the fear of sudden accountability. Let’s have a little data driven decision making:

    • In 2004, 97.2% of the recorded bias crimes based on Sexual Orientation were against GLB people. Transgender bias crime statistics are not even *tracked* by the FBI system.

    • Over the decade from 1995-2005 on a per capita basis, GLB people have the second highest reporting rate of hate crimes for any subgroup – 13 reported per 100,000 people – yet they are not protected under current Hate Crimes law.

    For more statistics, analysis and commentary, search on “hate crimes” at my blog.

    ~GC


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