Hate Crimes Legislation

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 22, 2009 7:31 AM GMT
    Tell Congress: honor Matthew Shepard

    Judy Shepard has waited more than 10 years for this moment. Congress could vote as soon as NEXT WEEK on the hate crimes bill that would give LGBT people the protections they need and deserve, and honor the memory of Judy's son.

    And tomorrow, during House Judiciary Committee action, right-wing lawmakers are planning an attempt to derail the bill with "poison pill" amendments. So your action is more urgent than ever.

    http://www.hrcactioncenter.org/campaign/hate_crimes_video

    I forgot there is another thread about this as well, but the delete topic button gets hung up so I couldnt delete this one. While I respect the opinions of others, I am absolutely shocked that anyone would be against hate crimes legislation.

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/483937/
  • metta

    Posts: 39133

    Apr 22, 2009 4:38 PM GMT
    I fixed the links:

    http://www.hrcactioncenter.org/campaign/hate_crimes_video



    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/483937/




    [quote]I am absolutely shocked that anyone would be against hate crimes legislation.[/quote]

    Look at how strongly many people fight gay marriage. Look how hard people fought against civil rights for African Americans. Look how hard people fought against womens right to vote. Look how hard it is to fight for protecting the environment. Look how hard it is to get Catholic Church to support the use of condoms and how hard it was to get them to put a stop to child abuse within their church.

    There have always been people out there that do more harm than good. Things like that have never changed. We must be louder than them and continue to make a positive difference. It would be wonderful if there were not so many people out there trying to slow these changes down, but we don't really have a choice. We have to work with what we have.

  • jaded57

    Posts: 85

    Apr 22, 2009 4:44 PM GMT
    I agree that we need hate crime laws. I also agree that Matthew Shepards death was sad.
    However I feel that he was not the victim of a hate crime. The truth is always moved to the side when it comes to Matthew Shepard. The following are now known as facts in regards to Matthew Shepard.

    1. Matthew was a killed by 2 meth addicts.

    2. Matthew himself was a troubled meth addict.

    3. Matthew had met and actually new 1 of his murders before hand.

    4. 1 of his murders was a bisexual and admittedly had sex with other men before. (it is assumed that given the size of Laramie they had probably met and at the very least knew of each other)

    5. Matthew was known to have money and was known among his peers as a rich kid. (I only add this because in such a vicious circle of methaddicts that can get you killed. And it appears to have been so in this case.)

    6. Matthew was depressed and is reported to be having problems with being gay. (This is reported by one of his closest college friends, I can only guess that it may have contributed.)

    7.Matthew was HIV+. (Plays into the #6 but it is also reported that he kept this as very personal secret that only a few people knew.)

    Matthew routinely went out of state and other distant places and practiced both drug abuse and unsafe sex. I can only guess that being gay HIV+ and in Wyoming was hard enough. You toss in drug abuse and you got a recipe for disaster. It is completely plausible that his drug abuse was his way of coping with all of his issues. Itis also widely speculated that contrary to what his mother leads you to believe his family was not all that close. Lack of support system being in early adulthood, gay ,HIV+, drug addict, and a myriad of other problems, I am not suprised Matthew didnt make it. Im actually suprised he didnt kill himself before hand.

    Matthew Shepard serves as a wake up call to all of us in the gay community. I do not disagree with the hate crimes laws. I feel that yes we are in need of them. However my concern is for the young gay kids out there who need friends and role models. My concern is for the young gay kids who are depressed and HIV+. My concern is for the people who are trapped in the cycle of meth addiction as their only coping mechanism.

    Matthew Shepards death should have affected all of us. Not becasue he was a victim of a hate crime. (My opinion he wasnt) But because he was so lonely and hurt. This isnt a gay or straight issue. It is an issue that we as society in general needs to discuss. Simply by saying Matthew was a victim of a hate crime does not honor his life. In fact it dishonors all this young man was struggling with and dealing with. Reach out there be a friend and mentor to someone who needs a role model. Having a law that criminalizes hate does not end hate. Having a friend to be there with you when dealing with all lifes troubles (including hate) makes it easier. Having someone to look up to who has been there and survived lifes issues and is still standing strong, makes any situation surviveable. Friends make hate bareable because then you know your not alone.

    Maybe instead of having Matthew Shepard hate laws. (By the way who would want there name forever associated with hate in any way) We could have a Matthew Sheppard gay youth day. A day where we all go out there and just be there for those going thru hard times. Im sure we all can agree that when we were younger that could have helped at some point. Just an idea.
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    Apr 22, 2009 4:48 PM GMT
    I'm waiting patiently for the Republican talking points against this legislation to start appearing here. Haven't you guys checked with your puppet masters yet? You're a little late on this one, aren't you?

    Please tell us why gay hate crime legislation is wrong. I know we've heard it all before, but please revisit the "special rights" issues and the conflicts with "states rights" which were used 50 years ago to oppose Black civil rights.

    Go right ahead, you've got a tradition of bigotry to uphold.
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    Apr 22, 2009 4:51 PM GMT
    Red_Vespa saidI'm waiting patiently for the Republican talking points against this legislation to start appearing here. Haven't you guys checked with your puppet masters yet? You're a little late on this one, aren't you?

    Please tell us why gay hate crime legislation is wrong. I know we've heard it all before, but please revisit the "special rights" issues and the conflicts with "states rights" which were used 50 years ago to oppose Black civil rights.

    Go right ahead, you've got a tradition of bigotry to uphold.


    Here is the original forum and yep, the usual suspects there.

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/483937/
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    Apr 22, 2009 4:53 PM GMT
    no talking points from me. mainly because i don't care enough either way about this bill. i'm an out gay person, but being gay isn't the most important thing in my life. if this makes you guys happy, then go for it. you know what they say, whatever tickles your pickle. =)
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    Apr 22, 2009 5:01 PM GMT
    all i said was if this is something that you guys think is important, then go for it. that makes me an idiot?
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    Apr 22, 2009 5:25 PM GMT
    Support it if you want but it is the typical politics I've come to expect. This legislation will not affect any of our lives in any meaningful way. It will not stop hate crimes, nor even reduce them. Democrats will push hard and Republicans will push back. Ultiamtely, it is likely to pass. Democrats will hail this as a triumph of gay rights that they can trumpet at all thos fundraisers. Republicans will decry it and use it at their fundraisers. All the while none of our lives will have changed in any meaningful way.

    Its a great ploy by both parties. Democrats can claim to be pro-gay, without having to actually improve our lives any. Republicans can claim the country is being overrun by godless homosexuals. And everyone's coffers get richer. But our lives aren't changed.

    When they actually propose and debate something meaningful to our lives, let me know. Until then this is just a smokescreen used by both sides to raise money and I'm not going to go out of my way to support that.
  • metta

    Posts: 39133

    Apr 23, 2009 9:55 PM GMT

    In the House it made it out of the Judiciary Committee today on a 15-12 vote.
  • metta

    Posts: 39133

    Apr 23, 2009 10:13 PM GMT

    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-1913



    [quote]
    Hate crimes remain a festering and horrifying problem in the United States. Although there are laws on the books to deter hate crimes and protect their victims, significant gaps remain unfilled.

    The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (LLEHCPA) would give the federal government jurisdiction over prosecuting hate crimes in states where the current law is inadequate. The legislation would also facilitate federal investigations and prosecutions when local authorities are unwilling or unable to achieve a just result.
    [/quote]

    http://www.civilrights.org/hatecrimes/



    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.1913:
  • metta

    Posts: 39133

    Apr 23, 2009 10:19 PM GMT


    Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin Opening Statement on Hate Crimes Bill 4.22.09


  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Apr 23, 2009 10:23 PM GMT
    Red_Vespa, that's a bit dismissive and condescending of you, and frankly somewhat offensive. People can actually disagree on political issues without one side being under control of "puppet masters". Several arguments have already been made about the legislation here on RealJock--the thread http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/483937/ has a number of them.
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Apr 23, 2009 11:00 PM GMT
    I disagree with the notion that the distinction between a premeditated crime and a heat of the moment crime is a reasonable analogy for the thought aspect of a hate crime distinction. Premeditated crimes are more seriously punished in large part because the person planned to commit the crime, had multiple opportunities to not engage in the criminal activity, and repeatedly chose the criminal action. Intent and motivation are two very different things; it is entirely possible to argue that those who intend to commit a crime are more culpable than those who do so inadvertently, while simultaneously arguing that the motivation behind committing the crime is not a legitimate reason to increase the punishment in a logically consistent manner.

    The main way in which the reason behind a crime is taken into account is in determining if mens rea attaches. If my brother is killed by a mugger, that really is worse than if he's killed by a schizophrenic who believes that my brother is the Devil. The mugger knowingly and callously puts someone else's life in danger for his own benefit; the schizophrenic probably doesn't actually know right from wrong. The mugger deserves a harsher punishment, though the schizophrenic still needs to be either successfully treated or else kept confined so that (s)he can't harm another innocent person; (s)he doesn't need that confinement to be punitive, though.

    For those people who have a philosophical objection to hate crimes legislation, pointing out that this is merely adding another group of citizens as protected classes to existing ones is not an argument that will be convincing. It's like saying "I know you think that it's wrong for the government to tap your phones, but this is merely a decision to let the CIA also listen in on the taps that are already being listened to by the NSA." It increases the amount of activity that one is objecting to in the first place.
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    Apr 23, 2009 11:51 PM GMT
    jprichva said1) As far as the criticism that hate crimes "criminalize thought", the answer to that is: The current laws take intent into account routinely. The difference between 2nd and 1st degree murder is pre-meditation---in other words, that thought had occurred. The difference between murder of any kind and manslaughter is intent. One intends to kill (even without premeditation), one kills as a byproduct of some other negligence. Thought and intent are deeply built in to the current system already.

    2) Like it or not, federal hate crime laws exist already. They cover religion, race, and national origin. All this bill would do is ADD sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity to the existing protections. If you dislike hate crime laws anyway, fine, but as long as they exist we are entitled to be covered too.

    No more special rights for fundamentalists.


    Although I don't particularly oppose hate crimes legislation (though I don't really support it either), the system historically has not punished motive, which is what hate crimes does. It simply never mattered why you did the crime as long as you did the act and had the requisite state of mind. Intent is not a very good way of describing the element of the crime as it is easily confused. State of mind is what matters criminally, not, stirctly speaking, intent. (Though a lot of people, including lawyers call it intent.) A manslaughter charge does not require that you intended to hurt anyone, but rather you had a certain state of mind at the time; you acted with reckless disregard of human life. Without making that distinction, it doesn't look like hate crimes are any different than any other crime, which in fact they are drastically different. Hate crimes punish motive, normal crimes don't. That is what makes them distinct. While I don't really have a problem with that distinction, there is a huge difference. And it is important that we don't gloss over that fact merely becuase we may want the legislation passed.