Thursday, September 15, 2005

US House of Reps Passes Hate Crimes Act

(Link) The measure gives law enforcement officers the tools to prosecute hate crimes against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people -- and 30 Republicans jumped the usual fence to vote for it.


LNewsEditor said...

JIC Post:
From PlanetOut Network
passed a hate crimes act in a bipartisan vote on Wednesday. The measure gives law enforcement officers the tools to prosecute hate crimes against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

The nation's largest LGBT political group, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), called the 223-199 vote a "historic step."

"Hate crimes send a message of fear, and Congress answered with a powerful law enforcement tool," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "Members of the House, Democrats and Republicans alike, historically signaled today that local law enforcement officials deserve the tools this bill would provide toward fighting the scourge of hate crimes."

"Today the United States House has courageously stood up for basic fairness for LGBT Americans," Chris Barron,
Log Cabin Republicanspolitical director, said on Wednesday. "T his is a tremendous day for our entire LGBT community."

The measure, which has failed to pass both chambers of Congress in recent years, is the first to include protections for transgender Americans.

"At least one chamber of Congress has finally made a statement that it is not acceptable to hurt or kill transgender people because of who we are," said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. "This is a pivotal vote for transgender people who have been working diligently for years to educate Congress about transgender people and our lives."

The measure, known as the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, was passed as an amendment to H.R. 3132, the Children's Safety Act.

The vote came two days after a jury in Northern California convicted two men of second-degree murder for the killing of transgender teen Gwen Araujo. The jury, however, was not convinced the killing was a hate crime.

Thirty Republicans joined one independent and 194 Democrats in supporting the hate crimes legislation, according to Log Cabin.

"We hope that the political courage that Republican House members showed today will be a sign to those in the party who seek to promote a divisive social agenda -- your days are numbered," Barron said. "We have always known that history and common decency were on our side, and today's vote proves that."

LNewsEditor said...

And while I'm at it... The folks who think this kind of legislation isn't necessary "because all crimes are hate crimes" hasn't been or known anybody who's been gay-bashed.