The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 (HR 1913) passed in the U.S. House of Representatives today, April 29th, in a 249-175 vote. 231 Democrats voted in favor of the bill, 17 Democrats voted against, 18 Republicans voted for the bill, and 158 Republicans voted against.
Hours of debate preceding the bill included a stirring account by Rep. Jim Jordan of his attempt to add “the unborn” to the list of protected persons on the bill, with the amendment being voted down because the unborn were “not persons.” Contrasted with this were libelous and vacuous declarations by those for the bill, including one representative who quoted from the Ten Commandments as he accused those against the bill of “bearing false witness” in their attempts to raise warnings about the possible use of this law to muzzle and/or prosecute religious leaders when they attempt to speak negatively about homosexuality, and a declaration from another congressman that thinking the Hate Crimes Bill was about thought-crimes was like believing anti-lynching laws were about knot-tying.
Before the final vote, an attempt was made to “expand the applicability of the bill to the age, status as a current or former member of the Armed Forces, or status as a law enforcement officer beyond the scope of groups mentioned in the bill. ” [source: House Floor Summary] This was rejected however, and the bill was passed.
Following the vote, the Human Rights Campaign released a statement declaring:
“All Americans are one step closer to protection from hate violence thanks to today’s vote,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “Hate crimes are a scourge on our communities and it’s time we give law enforcement the tools they need to combat this serious problem.”
Is this vote really a positive step, however? A Denver lawyer made an interesting point when he looked at the “politically correct” requirements in hate crime legislation in a guest commentary in the Denver Post:
Isn’t every criminal act that harms another person a “hate crime”? And Colorado’s law does not even begin to criminalize “hate” in general; it selects only politically correct, unacceptable categories of “hate,” only those derived from current zeitgeist that preferred minority classifications should receive extra special protection.
When a Colorado gang engaged in an initiation ritual of specifically seeking out a “white woman” to rape, the Boulder prosecutor declined to pursue “hate crime” charges. So the “hate crime” law does not apply equally, instead criminalizing only politically incorrect thoughts directed against politically incorrect victim categories.
A government powerful enough to pick and choose which thoughts to prosecute is a government too powerful.
In addition, Robert Gagnon raised fair warnings of where this Hate Crime Bill will lead in his piece:
In establishing an official “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” protection category, “sexual orientation” hate laws make inevitable, so-called “employment nondiscrimination acts” for “sexual orientation” that turn out to be “employment discrimination acts” against people in the workplace who do not want to support a homosexualist agenda. Together they make inevitable the passage of legislation that mandates acceptance of “gay marriage.” It is not possible to be for a “sexual orientation thought-crime” bill and not also be for the enforcement of “gay marriage” because the former leads inevitably to the latter. That is how the courts in Massachusetts and, recently Iowa, operated. They moved from “sexual orientation” laws in “hate crime” and “employment” to treating as intrinsically discriminatory any opposition to “gay marriage.”
Look at how far things have already gone in Canada. Among those recently fined thousands of dollars are: Father Alphonse de Valk and Catholic Insight Magazine for speaking against homosexual behavior; Bill Whatcott, a Catholic activist, for producing pamphlets that called homosexual practice immoral (Whatcott was also “banned for life” from criticizing homosexuality); Stephen Boisson, a pastor, for a letter to a newspaper denouncing homosexual practice as immoral (also ordered to desist from expressing his views on homosexual practice in any public forum).
Can’t happen in the United States? Even though some high court justices have already made appeals to precedents in foreign law to support the homosexualist agenda here? Tell that to the freelance female photographer who on the grounds that it violated her Christian belief declined to photograph a lesbian wedding and, as a result, was ordered by the New Mexico Human Rights Commission to pay over $6000 to the lesbian couple.
Ought not these and other points be seriously explored before we move headlong into uncharted territory? We are seeing change, as Barack Obama promised, but is it really for the better?
Posted in Law & Politics, News Tagged with: congress, Denver Post, hate crimes bill, homosexuality, House of Representatives, Human Rights Campaign