Senate Passes Veto-Proof Hate Crimes Legislation

In a 60-39 vote to proceed to adoption, the Senate approved the Kennedy amendment which adds sexual orientation, gender identity and disability to the existing hate crimes legislation. 

Among the Republicans that crossed the aisle to move the legislation forward. (Roll Call here) were

John Warner
Richard Lugar
Susan Collins
Olympia Snowe
George Voinovich
Arlen Specter
Norm Coleman
Judd Gregg and
Gordon Smith (co-sponsor)

Larry Craig voted nay. Very interesting.

Expect a veto. The White House has said that state and local criminal laws already provide penalties for the crimes defined by the bill and “there has been no persuasive demonstration of any need to federalize such a potentially large range of violent crime enforcement.”

The White House also noted that the bill would leave out other classes such as the elderly, members of the military or police officers.

Hate crimes under current federal law apply to acts of violence against individuals on the basis of race, religion, color, or national origin. So the White House’s reasoning would apply to these groups too, right? If not, why not?

Who thinks this stuff up? Well,

Family Research Council spokesman Tony Perkins complains that the hate crimes amendment create[s] a tiered system of justice, where certain citizens are given special protection while others are not.

And the American Family Association, in its futile legislative alert sound this alarm:

[The bill] would establish homosexuals as a special class of people and give them special rights.

It is no stretch to argue that S. 1105, if enacted, will embody a national policy that will likely lead to the criminalization and civil sanction of the biblical view of homosexuality…

Under S.1105, homosexuals are a “protected class” while heterosexuals are not. 

I guess fairness would mean straight white guys should be a “protected class” too. They aren’t? I dunno… coulda sworn…


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