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Old 10-08-2009, 01:01 PM   #1
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Default US hate-crime laws to be extended to cover gays

Just saw this: House of representatives passes legislation extending existing hate-crime laws to cover gays.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091008/...ys_hate_crimes
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Old 10-08-2009, 01:10 PM   #2
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Goes to show how much I know. I thought it already covered gays. Boy are we behind.
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Old 10-09-2009, 12:11 PM   #3
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I have to be honest, I cried when I heard about this.
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Old 10-09-2009, 12:24 PM   #4
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Long overdue.
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Old 10-09-2009, 02:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LillyBBBW View Post
Goes to show how much I know. I thought it already covered gays. Boy are we behind.
Hate crime laws can cover sexual orientation at the state level, which is why it's not uncommon for people to believe it's covered everywhere. A lot of states already have it covered but there are still some that didn't when I last checked, these stick out in my mind:

Idaho
Hawaii
Connecticut
Alabama
Colorado
Indiana
Arkansas

A good source to see the specifics of what constitutes a hate crime on a state level is Partners Against Hate

There's a lot of other interesting information on the site as well.
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Old 10-09-2009, 02:55 PM   #6
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After so many examples of the need for federal legislation on this subject, I am hard pressed to imagine what can be said to explain any opposition to such a bill, but then again I might be giving a lot of voting constituencies too much credit.
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Old 10-09-2009, 03:28 PM   #7
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This is very good news for you guys.

I must admit though, this is an example of something that confuses me about America. You're the United States and yet your laws can be State specific. That doesn't make sense to me, it's not indicative of being very "United". How can Gay marriage be legal in one State and not in the next?

Also, it amazes me that there are some States in which performing anal sex is illegal, but being gay is not. Eh? Kinda like, it's okay to be gay, just not to act upon it sexually? That just seems really messed up to me. Mind you, the same laws apply to heterosexual couples. But really, a married couple can't legally practice anal sex? Surely any such law is grounded more in religious morality than it is contemporary and scientific common sense?

Edit: I'm not actually sure I'm right about the last part. I'm sure I read it somewhere but I just checked and can't find it. Anyway, if the whole anal thing is the case, then it's crazy, if it's not the case, then I'm crazy!

Last edited by chubloverUK86; 10-09-2009 at 03:33 PM. Reason: Tada!
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Old 10-09-2009, 10:34 PM   #8
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Yes! Gooooood news.
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Old 10-10-2009, 01:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chubloverUK86 View Post
This is very good news for you guys.

I must admit though, this is an example of something that confuses me about America. You're the United States and yet your laws can be State specific. That doesn't make sense to me, it's not indicative of being very "United". How can Gay marriage be legal in one State and not in the next?

Also, it amazes me that there are some States in which performing anal sex is illegal, but being gay is not. Eh? Kinda like, it's okay to be gay, just not to act upon it sexually? That just seems really messed up to me. Mind you, the same laws apply to heterosexual couples. But really, a married couple can't legally practice anal sex? Surely any such law is grounded more in religious morality than it is contemporary and scientific common sense?

Edit: I'm not actually sure I'm right about the last part. I'm sure I read it somewhere but I just checked and can't find it. Anyway, if the whole anal thing is the case, then it's crazy, if it's not the case, then I'm crazy!
You're completely sane!

The states' laws vs. federal government laws dualism was the price for the original 13 colonies/states becoming united in the first place. The Federal Constitution and Supreme Court have the final word on legalities but states have quite a bit of wiggle room, especially if the Supreme Court bounces a legal decision back to the state courts. We have a lot of crazy state laws like the one in Arizona saying a person can't own more than one dildo or other much more serious stupidities such as same sex people can't legally marry. The sodomy "crime" seemed to be used more as an extra charge added on top of others, or as a harassment. I was going to look up a recent case where this happened but found this great site and legal decision: Lambda Legal (Releases).

It's very frustrating because so many of these laws need to be changed but there are just enough crazy people who support the bad laws to make fighting them a huge, expensive battle. Fortunately positive change occurs occasionally enough to sustain some hope.
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Old 10-10-2009, 01:40 PM   #10
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It's about time that hate crimes laws were broadened to include gays and lesbians! I'm so happy that the political landscape has changed.
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Old 10-10-2009, 01:54 PM   #11
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WHOOT! goan yersel America!
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Old 10-11-2009, 05:59 PM   #12
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WTB ENDA kthxbye
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Old 10-15-2009, 03:54 PM   #13
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[summarized from the OP's article]
Original hate-crime legislation after Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination defined a hate-crime as those carried out on the basis of race, color, religion or national origin. It also limited the scope of activities that would trigger federal involvement.

This amendment to a military spending bill would extend hate-crime to include crimes based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. It would ease restrictions on federally protected activities. It also creates a new federal crime to penalize attacks against U.S. service members on account of their service.

The federal government can step in after the Justice Department certifies that a state is unwilling or unable to follow through on a purported hate crime.
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Old 10-29-2009, 10:20 AM   #14
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This op-ed piece from the Washington Post following Obama's signing the law into effect yesterday makes some good points, imo.

[url]http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/28/AR2009102803988.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Help gays who aren't hurt

At face value, the bill is but a reluctant acknowledgment that Americans assaulted because of their sexual orientation are indeed victims of bigotry. Adding insult to injury, the measure had to be attached to a defense spending bill just to pass.

Is this the best Congress can muster when it comes to advancing gay rights?

Such legislation will not bring back to life Matthew Shepard or James Byrd Jr., the slain men for whom the act is named. Nor will it make Jack Price -- the gay New Yorker beaten nearly to death this month -- any less battered. The law morbidly protects gays only after they have been attacked; any consideration for their safety and human rights before such an occurrence still seems a congressional afterthought.

Put another way, our nation's dead and hospitalized homosexuals, bisexuals and transgendered people are receiving after-the-fact sympathies, while the healthy gays and lesbians among us are expected to suffer from the same root discrimination. Are rights advocates expected to remain patient, even happy, about such progress?

The proverbial plate is too full, pooh-poohs our political elite. The rationale underlying such sentiments is that reforming our nation's health-care system, improving our economy and winning the war in Afghanistan must of course take priority over gay rights.

Such logic is meaningless to Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, who after 18 years of exemplary service is facing dismissal for "damaging" the Air Force's "good order and discipline." Obama has pledged to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" ban on openly gay service members, but he has yet to set a timetable. Meanwhile, Fehrenbach is one of many whose sexual orientation unfairly compromises their jobs, health benefits, retirement -- and, ultimately, our nation's war efforts. Political side-stepping of the issue also suggests that more sacrifice is required of a man who has already devoted much of his life to serving our country.

I come from a different generation -- the one that showed up in unprecedented numbers to vote last November and by doing so helped elect a president who just happens to be the first minority to hold that office. It was noble -- even hip -- to fight against the bigotry and discrimination that the Obama campaign faced. Wasn't our country in an economic crisis, debating health-care reform and fighting two wars during the campaign, too?

Recall the widespread dismay when Sen. John McCain suspended his campaign last fall to focus solely on the bailout plan. "Part of the president's job is to deal with more than one thing at once," Obama said in response. "In my mind it's more important than ever."

Obama was right then, and the point is still important. America needs the same multitasking attitude from all our elected officials.

It is wrong to ask gay Americans to wait until every future war is won, every societal ill is treated and every business is booming before being granted equal protection under law; it is equally disturbing to think that today, one must be a victim of a hate crime before receiving such consideration.

Is it too much to ask for more, sooner rather than later?

The writer is a graduate student at Columbia University and a senior editor at the School of International and Public Affairs's Journal of International Affairs.
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Old 10-29-2009, 11:55 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernest Nagel View Post
The law morbidly protects gays only after they have been attacked; any consideration for their safety and human rights before such an occurrence still seems a congressional afterthought.

Put another way, our nation's dead and hospitalized homosexuals, bisexuals and transgendered people are receiving after-the-fact sympathies, while the healthy gays and lesbians among us are expected to suffer from the same root discrimination. Are rights advocates expected to remain patient, even happy, about such progress?
I really disagree with some of this. The author doesn't seem to understand what hate crime legislation is.

Hate crime legislation doesn't protect previous victims - regular assault laws do that. Hate crime legislation protects potential future victims by coming down harshly on criminals who target groups of people. If someone's making a habit of attacking queer folks, then this stops them doing that for the benefit of us all.

Andrew Sullivan is having a tantrum because Obama's speech didn't include the word "gay" - instead using "who they love" to refer to LGBs and "who they are" for T's.

And I totally agree, we need ENDA and we need to repeal DOMA and DADT, now, please. The "doing too much" argument is crap - one reason we have congressional committees is so that we can work on different things in parallel, so we could have bills ready to roll as soon as health care is over.

What the author wants is a cultural shift, and it's not clear how to acheive that in legislation. Something that helps is when homophobes (or what Pam Spaulding refers to as homobigots) meet actual real-life LGBTQ people and learn that they're not evil monsters. So laws that make life safer for LGBTQ people are a gradual push in that direction. If anyone has any actual suggestions for ways to hurry it along, that'd be great.

Ernest - please don't take my comments as an attack on you. I found the article you quoted interesting which was why I felt the need to comment on bits of it.
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Old 10-30-2009, 05:27 AM   #16
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I have to say, I read the op-ed and agreed with it, for the simple reason that it points out that if our laws only protect LGBTQ folks after they've been set upon by bigots, it is because all the other laws still treat us as second class citizens, and thus gives the bigots a sense of empowerment and governmental approval in their hatred of the gays.

Change the other laws to make us equal citizens, and that takes away a lot of the justification for homophobia right there, and makes it harder for homophobes to be homophobic in public and get away with it.

People who are officially stigmatised don't get treated the same under the law, and we show our priorities as a nation when we refuse to grant gays the right to serve, adopt, marry, or even move into the apartment next door or get a job in your company. That all sets the stage for someone to think it is AOK to beat or kill a queer. Funny how increasingly we see those same attitudes of refusal (in employment, insurance, adoption, etc) happening to fat people.
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