Some recent mail:
From an email in response to YouTube's "It's All Because (The Gays Are Getting Married)":
Okay, put that You Tube bit in the "don't watch it with a full bladder or you'll be sorry" category. Our marriage of nearly 27 years is going fine and we're looking forward to a sort of second honeymoon over our anniversary in September chartering a sailboat. This must be the fault of gays getting married, too.
Really, there are two guys down the street still rebuilding their house after the hurricane (and yes, gay guys have much better taste than straight guys), but other than admiring their three beautiful Weimaraners when they're out for a walk (and the work they've put into their house), I can't say that they're anymore a threat to our marriage than the man next door with his mail order bride from Thailand.
Ron's Q. I'm basically trying to understand what the justification is for hate crimes are in the first place. Consider what happened to Matthew Shepard. Even without a hate crime statute, the perpetrators were eligible for what effectively was life in prison. What difference would passing this act have on that? Why is this needed?My A. Hate Crimes are are crimes motivated by bias against an identifiable social group, usually groups defined by race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, gender identity, or political affiliation. Hate Crime legislation has been on the books since the 1960's and emerged out of the Civil Rights struggle. (See Jeff Martinhauk's blog for a reality check.)
Laws currently state that crimes directed at a category of people in order to intimidate, oppress and marginalize the whole community are defined as Hate Crimes and entitled to Federal Law Enforcement support. Current laws provide federal prosecution for hate crimes committed on the basis of a person's race, color, religion, or nation origin. The pending legislation would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list providing federal support for local law enforcement agencies.
It has the support of notable individuals and more than 230 law enforcement, civil rights, civic and religious organizations, including: President George H.W. Bush’s attorney general, Dick Thornburgh; National Sheriffs’ Association; International Association of Chiefs of Police; U.S. Conference of Mayors; Presbyterian Church; Episcopal Church; and the Parents Network on Disabilities.
PS - THANKS FOR ASKING!