May 8, 2009
One week ago, the House passed H.R. 1913, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, by a vote of 249 to 175 (Roll Call 223). The bill has now moved to the Senate for consideration. Although the Senate has not yet taken any action on either H.R. 1913 or its Senate counterpart, S. 909, it is important to continue educating your Senators on this vitally important issue. Eagle Forum encourages you to pre-emptively urge your Senators to oppose any efforts to further advance hate crimes legislation.
Sponsored by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), H.R. 1913 and S. 909 will make a hate crime -- a crime in which the victim is intentionally selected based on his or her race, religion, ethnicity, gender, etc. -- a federal offense.
The bills seek to accomplish this by mandating federal criminal prosecution for state offenses, with the possibility of life imprisonment, for crimes motivated by the "actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of any person." H.R. 1913/S. 909 will also establish homosexual and transgender persons as a protected class of victims by adding the words "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to Title 18 of the U.S. criminal code.
Make no mistake, these bills are dangerous and unprecedented proposals which will transform the criminal justice system and threaten religious liberty by:
- Violating the First Amendment by infringing upon the constitutional guarantees of religious expression and freedom of speech.
- Violating the Fourteenth Amendment by deliberately compromising the principle of equal protection under the law for all Americans.
- Seeking to silence and punish all opposing viewpoints.
- Targeting those who hold traditional beliefs on homosexuality.
- Granting more government protection to certain classes of people, particularly, homosexuals.
A typical tactic of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender) groups is to distort and exaggerate FBI statistics to their benefit. In 2007, there were 1,521 victims of "sexual orientation" bias, however, 335 of these were incidents of "intimidation," also known as shouting or name-calling. 448 of these crimes were "simple assault," defined as pushing or shoving without physical injury, with 242 of the crimes being aggravated assault, defined as bodily harm. So, in a nation with 300 million people, there were only 242 "violent" crimes committed against homosexuals, bisexuals, or drag queens in 2007.
In fact, in analyzing FBI statistics even further, it is clear that violence as a result of anti-religious bias and racial bias occurs more frequently than sexual orientation bias. Compared to the 1,521 bias crimes against LGBT individuals, 4,956 racial incidents occurred in 2007 -- 908 were anti-white; 3,424 were anti-African American; and the rest were bias crimes against other races. Out of 1,628 anti-religious crimes, 1,127 were against Jewish people; 142 against Muslims; 70 against Catholics; 67 against Protestants; and the rest against other religions.
Not only are H.R. 1913 and S. 909 unconstitutional, it they are also unnecessary. The underlying offense, whether it is murder, assault, or any other crime, is already fully and aggressively prosecuted in all 50 states. We do not need a new law; rather, we need strict enforcement of existing laws. All violent crimes are hate crimes and all violent criminals should be severely punished. Elevating particular groups of victims above others and awarding them a special status is not the answer to decreasing crime in America.
Please continue calling, emailing, and faxing your Senators, and tell them you expect them to oppose any hate crimes legislation that may come up for a vote in the Senate.
Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121
Watch YouTube videos of Rep. Steve King (R-IA) offering two good amendments to hate crimes in committee and the Democrats voting them down.
View King amendment to protect Americans from hate crimes of illegal aliens (defeated on a party line vote, 14-12).
View King amendment to make sure pedophiles are not awarded special protected status under this bill (defeated on a party line vote, 13-10).
Read the Report ( Part 1 Part 2 ) of the House Judiciary Committee which includes the roll call votes on various amendments plus a statement of dissenting views by the Republican minority.