Progressive. Queer. Feminist. Opinionated.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Another attempt at explanding hate crime laws

Here we go again.

The house just passed legislation to expand the hate crime laws to include gays, lesbians, and transgendered people. How many times have they done this now? In the past, they've passed it, and the senate has shot it down.

This legislation extends existing hate crimes laws that already cover crimes motivated by race, color, national origin and religion to include crimes based on actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, disability and gender identity, including gender-related characteristics. The gender identity/characteristics language was added to this bill this year to make clear that anti-transgender crimes are covered.

I want to get excited about this, but past examples will not allow me. I don't doubt that this will be vetoed as well.

The numbers show that this would be a good measure:

Overall, NCAVP’s report noted a 4% increase in reported incidents of anti-LGBT violence. Such incidents rose from 1,720 in 2003 to 1,792 in 2004.

Included in the rise in incidents for the year, was an 11% increase in anti-LGBT murders, which rose from 18 in 2003 to 20 in 2004. During 2004, the total number of victims rose 4%, from 2,042 in 2003 to 2,131 in 2004.

But I don't think the law will go into effect. I'd love to have hope, but face it: most of the American government doesn't care about us.

Now, please don't interpret this statement as desperation or hopelessness. If this gets vetoed down, they we just need to shout a little louder and march a little longer.

I know that many people are against hate crime laws on principle, and we can have a jolly good discussion about that some other day, but let's look at the facts: hate crime law "already covers crimes motivated by race, color, national origin and religion." All we would be saying is that LGBTQ folks deserve protection as well. By vetoing this hate crime legislation again and again, those in the position of power are only repeating that we are second class citizens and they'd like us to stay that way.

AMERICAblog has more here.


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