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Democrats should Pass LGBT Hate Crimes Legislation

Posted by libhom Sunday, November 19, 2006

In the midterm elections, the Democrats made enough gains to win the House and the Senate. However, there were a number of close races the Democrats lost in the House.

The queer community has been slighted and ignored by the national Democratic Party for years. The process was accelerated under Howard Dean, who got rid of lgbt liaisons and who discouraged discussion of our issues in Democratic campaigns. The last time the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress in the 1993-1994 session, no significant lgbt civil rights legislation passed. In fact, a more severe version of the military ban was passed into law, replaces a less draconian executive order.

Under these circumstances, it was hardly surprising that the queer community was not as energized or involved in 2006 as in the early 90s.

Given that one can easily expect many close races in 2008 and that control of the House and the Senate could be easily grabbed by the GOP, it would be wise for the national Democratic Party to work to repair its relationship with queer voters.

The Religious Right made a strategic decision after the Supreme Court's ruling legalizing sodomy to focus on same-sex marriage as their main front for attacking and scapegoating queers, trying to make us pay the price for the failure of the institution of marriage. This made sense politically, since same-sex marriage is the most unpopular lgbt issue.

The Democrats need to take the focus off of marriage and find another queer issue to draw the general public's attention to. Hate-crimes legislation would be an intelligent choice, given that it is the most popular lgbt issue.

If the Democrats in Congress want to restore lgbt confidence in the idea that supporting Democrats will result in positive differences, they need to pass a major lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights law. Passing hate crimes legislation that includes sexual orientation and gender identity would serve that purpose quite nicely. Can you imagine suburban Republicans outside of the South having to defend a vote that lets people getting away with beating and killing people because they are gay ?

Whether Bush passes the legislation or vetoes it, the Democrats would show that they got something important to queers accomplished that Republican party leaders had blocked in Congress for over a decade.

Congressional Democrats have a lot to prove to queers. Passing hate crimes legislation would be a politically expedient and morally valid way of doing so.

9 comments

  1. Anonymous Says:
  2. Excellent points all. I agree completely.

    The rush to define "marriage" and legislate such a definition--nationwide--was just sad. However, it indicates the ground this country currently stands on; therefore, it behooves the lgbt community (and those who ostensibly represent them in government) to work with the tools they have. Focus on what is politically easy as an inroad to tackling what is politically difficult in the future.

     
  3. Anonymous Says:
  4. What the hell is a "hate crime?" If you kill a white straight man, does the perp deserve less of a punishment than if he killed a black gay man? Stupidity and a slippery slope towards thought crimes enforced by the secret police.

    Of course crimes against the LGBT community should be punished. All should be equally treated under the law regardless of the sexual orientation. Call me crazy, but I have a dream, that one day, all will be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin -- or the make-up of their sexuality.

    Or, we could go with your idea and one day pass hate crime legislation to punish people more if they ever said the word "fag" at some point in their past. It would be humorus if not so damn dangerous.

     
  5. libhom Says:
  6. Hate crimes laws protect heterosexuals for hate crimes based on their sexual orientation as well. But, don't let that fact stand in the way of your absurd claim that hate crimes laws give people priveledges.

    Another fact you should be aware of is that merely using a epithet is not a hate crime.

    Facts are so inconvenient for the extreme right.

     
  7. Anonymous Says:
  8. Ahh, putting me on the extreme Right -- interesting.

    An epithet does not make a hate crime, but when used during the commission of a crime, it is used to worsen the penalty. Is the murder victim gonna be resurrected because the punishment is more severe? All this does is muddy the penal code.

    Did I say hate crimes give people "privileges?" Thanks for putting word in my mouth. Hate crimes attempt to legislate thought -- pure and simple.

     
  9. PurpleThink Says:
  10. Looks like I came back at a good time.

    Answer the orignal question. If someone kills a straight white man, does the perp deserve less a punishment than if he killed a gay black man; out of hate even?

    I think you'll answer yes, if it's out of hate. Total and absolute B.S.

     
  11. libhom Says:
  12. Hate crimes laws already to protect white people from hate crimes based on their race. People are prosecuted for those crimes.

    As I said before, lgbt hate crimes laws are based on sexual orientation. Given the fact that heterosexuality is a sexual orientation just like homosexuality and bisexuality, heterosexuals get the same protections under the law.

    You are using a "straw man" argument. Your objections don't apply to the actual legislation being discussed.

     
  13. Anonymous Says:
  14. yes it does. Answer the damn question! You have a gay man that gets killed by a homophobic idiot. Does the homophobic idiot deserve a harsher penalty than if he had killed a straight man. This goes to very heart of hate crimes legislation.

     
  15. Anonymous Says:
  16. You say hate crimes legislation protects white heterosexuals. Okay, let me phrase the question a different way so you can understand the deep complexity of my question. A group of gay gang thugs kill a white heterosexual while chanting "death to the honkey pussy-lover." Alright genious, answer the damn question. Does the gang of gay thugs deserve a harsher penalty than if they killed a fellow gay man with no evidence of other malice?

    Stop conveniently ignoring the point!

     
  17. libhom Says:
  18. Hate crimes, regardless of who the victims are, always are worse. Everything that is bad about regular crimes applies, but there is an added element.

    Hate crimes are meant to target and intimidate entire classes of people.

    The real reason why people oppose hate crimes legislation is that they want entire communities attacked on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and other aspects of who people are.

     

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