The Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) re-introduced hate crimes legislation — the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act — a bill that has bipartisan support.
The LLEHCPA gives the Justice Department the power to investigate and prosecute bias motivated violence where the perpetrator has selected the victim because of the person’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. It provides the Justice Department with the ability to aid state and local jurisdictions either by lending assistance or, where local authorities are unwilling or unable, by taking the lead in investigations and prosecutions of violent crime resulting in death or serious bodily injury that were motivated by bias. It also makes grants available to state and local communities to combat violent crimes committed by juveniles, train law enforcement officers, or to assist in state and local investigations and prosecutions of bias motivated crimes.
This legislation passed the House in the 110th Congress 237-180, so it should breeze through this time, and when a companion bill is filed in the Senate, there really is no excuse for this to languish. (Wash Blade):
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) is expected to introduce a companion bill in the Senate. Anthony Coley, a Kennedy spokesperson, said the senator “plans to introduce this very important piece of legislation soon,” but did not offer a specific timeline.
HRC has called on Obama to work with Congress to pass hate crimes legislation within six months of his administration. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the longest-serving openly gay lawmaker in Congress, earlier told the Blade he expects the House to pass the legislation in the spring and that Congress will have the bill on Obama’s desk by summer.
Of course, that will not stop the fundie machine from gearing up with the “thought crimes” meme, as we saw with Tony Perkins and FRC yesterday. The lies and disinformation out there are breathtaking. (WND):
All hate crimes legislation is a direct threat to our religious liberties. We must let Congress know we are watching!” said a statement today from Gary Cass at the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission.
Cass said the plan offers “one of the gravest threats to religious liberty and freedom of speech.”
“Even while national attention is focused in on the economy and Obama’s radical economic and foreign policy, the far left is at work undermining our First Amendment rights at home with hate crime legislation,” he warned. “In other countries where these types of laws have been implemented, pastors and Christians have been jailed and fined for their faithful adherence to the Scriptures.”
…”Now we are on the verge of passing federal hate crime laws that will be used to silence believers like in Canada, Europe and Australia. No more will your pastor be able to declare the truth about Islam or homosexuality because it will be considered a hate crime.”
Honestly, I don’t even understand how these loons think this is a successful strategy — there are state and local hate crimes laws in place all around the country, and where are all these jailed pastors and silenced Christians who have been muzzled and persecuted under these laws for their anti-gay views? Look at the unhinged logic of Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX):
“A large part of this is that many people do not understand the Christian heart,” he said. “They just don’t like people who disagree with them. The true Christian heart can disagree with people, and still love them deeply,” he said.
But the law, Gohmert said, would allow prosecutors to “go after a minister … who says [sexual] relations outside of the marriage of a man and a woman are wrong.”