Fate of hate crimes bill now uncertain, may be attached to defense bill

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Hate Crimes LegislationSources for Bilerico and Pam’s House Blend have learned that the hate crimes bill currently working its way through the Senate will most likely be attached to a defense authorization package, since there are not enough votes to pass it as a standalone bill. Hate crimes legislation was shelved back in 2007 when this same tactic was used. From Bil Browing at Bilreco:

Remember how well that worked out for us last time?

Congressmembers can use our lives to bargain for bombs and defense spending instead of simply affirming our dignity as human beings worthy of safety from persecution and violence if hate crimes are added to the defense authorization.

You need to call your Senator NOW and ask them to save the hate crimes bill from certain death! If it’s added to the defense authorization bill it will be the death of hate crimes this year.

You can look up your Senator’s direct phone number here or call (202) 224-3121 and tell them to SAVE THE HATE CRIMES BILL.

And at a hearing on hate crimes this morning Attorney General Eric Holder voiced support for the bill even as some Democrats displayed an abundance of ignorance, repeating the same tired meme that hate crimes would curb the free speech of churches and people of faith. From AP:

… Democratic lawmaker, Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, both voiced concerns that the bill could be used to prosecute a church leader who speaks out against homosexuality, if a member of their congregation then assaults a gay person.

“This is a bill to hold people accountable for conduct, not for speech,” Holder insisted.

Update: Myself and other blogs have unfortunately mischaracterized Durbin’s comments based on the AP article. After watching the hearings it was clear that Durbin was characterizing questions posed by his constituents and not necessarily his personal views.

Judy and Dennis Shepard, parents of Matthew Shepard for whom the act is named, appeared on CNN defending the hate crimes bill. Watch:

Please contact your senator and urge them to support S. 909, the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009.

Post by ILO on 06/25/09 at 1:54 pm