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Fairness Versus Equality

First, let me applaud both the Hypocrite Rights Campaign and Log Cabin (Republicans) for finally (years late!) getting a grip and realizing that some true gay rights progress can be made in the area of Job Discrimination.

The public debate from the gay community on this issue virtually came to a halt while gay activists tried to force gay marriage through the court system, and then having to raise money in order to fight a Constitutional Amendment that will never pass.

So now we are back to a pragmatism and seriousness that the Gay Lobby walked away from many years ago.  From Log Cabin website:

Log Cabin Republicans praise the bi-partisan introduction of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (LLEHCPA) in the U.S. Senate.  The legislation would allow local law enforcement agencies to access federal assistance in the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes.  Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR) is the lead Republican co-sponsor.  The House version was introduced last month.  Similar legislation previously passed both the U.S. House and Senate by wide, bi-partisan margins.

“Our strong support for local law enforcement officials and our shared commitment to fighting crime unites us as Republicans,” said Log Cabin President Patrick Sammon.  “We all understand the importance of combating violent crime in every community—from the largest cities to the smallest towns.  That’s why every Republican lawmaker should support this legislation.”

But here’s a question I have for Log Cabin and the Hypo Rights Campaign — why is “gay marriage” a fundamental question of EQUALITY, but getting fired from your job because you are gay is just mere FAIRNESS?

Words do matter.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

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53 Comments

  1. “Hate Crime” is just a little too uncomfortably close to “Thought Crime” for my liking. We should punish people for committing hateful actions that result or potentially result in real harm against other people of course. But when we start punishing people just for their thoughts and feelings, that’s pretty scary. Not to mention the potential for abuse in terms of freedom of speech.

    Comment by V the K — April 20, 2007 @ 7:49 am - April 20, 2007

  2. And if I may flesh out the Free Speech point a bit more, there are a lot of people in our society who think that hurting someone’s feelers is an act of violence. Barack Obama recently babbled that Don Imus saying “nappy headed ho” was as much an act of violence as Cho the Psycho’s shooting rampage. The Asian American Journalists Association warned that news reports should not identify Cho’s ethnicity because “such mention serves only to unfairly portray an entire people.”

    In this environment, it’s quite easy to see scenarios where debate on same-sex marriage or racial violence or illegal immigration could be shut down as “Hate Speech,” because speech that hurts someone’s feelers is considered a form of violence. It has already happened on university campuses, and in countries like Canada and Sweden. Orianna Fallaci was put on trial, as have several others, for expressing opinions that offended Muslims and ran afoul of European hate speech codes. The EU is also formulating a law that would make it illegal to deny the Nazi holocaust, but not to deny the Armenian or Stalinist genocides. Britain, on the other hand, is removing study of the Holocaust from school curricula for fear of offending Muslims. A 10 year old in Britain was interrogated by the police for calling a classmate “gay” in an on-line chat room.

    Is that really what we want?

    But that’s Europe, you say, it could never happen here. Well, it is happening here. CAIR threatens to sue anyone who reports when Muslims behave suspiciously. We have a high school girl in California who was punished when she said “That’s so gay,” in response to ridicule of her religious beliefs. Those ridiculing her received no discipline.

    This thought-crime thing sets a very dangerous precedent.

    Comment by V the K — April 20, 2007 @ 8:05 am - April 20, 2007

  3. […] Original post by GayPatriot […]

    Pingback by Politics: 2008 HQ » Blog Archive » Fairness Versus Equality — April 20, 2007 @ 8:47 am - April 20, 2007

  4. why is marriage a matter of equality but jobs are a matter of fairness?

    Because gays, whether they realize it or not, are affected by the same social/cultural things that everyone else is.

    Or the people creating these campaigns are tailoring their language to what will appeal to “the majority”

    Comment by imnohero — April 20, 2007 @ 9:30 am - April 20, 2007

  5. Gays can marry someone from the opposite sex just like straights can. I think the whole issue is a canard.

    Comment by Vince P — April 20, 2007 @ 9:34 am - April 20, 2007

  6. Bruce, a couple of points on Smith’s bill. First, it’s mostly about extending the force of law to “sexual orientation” as a protected class under general Hate Crime laws (at state & fed levels). It does that explicitly but also by tapping into federal law enforcement resources ––supporting the local cops (and prosecutors) who pursue Hate Crime allegations.

    The sponsors and backers hope it avoids the past PR problem(s) with passage of a “Gay Hate Crimes” bill because it maintains the proper province of state action for the prosecution of bias-motivated crimes… although, if the locals do NOT act, the feds can step up to the plate in certain cases —much like the civil rights and voting rights violations in the 1950s-1960s. It also includes a specific 1st Amendment Free Speech & Association exceptions statement that the law isn’t intended to be used for policing speech or thought or assembly and association

    To trigger the bill’s provisions, the hate crime would have to include a willful act of violence that caused (or attempted to cause) bodily harm.

    The bill’s co-sponsors (TeddieK and GordonSmith) have called it the Matthew Shepard Act. In fact, this is the first rendition of a Gay Hate Crimes bill that has the ACLU’s full support. I know some are arguing that it extends workplace protections, immigration protections and other protections –but that really depends on two things: a) you live in one of the 24-25 states that have Hate Crime statutes covering sexual orientation and b) if you don’t, that you have a US Asst AG who will prosecute.

    One past provision that is missing from this version is the call for the AG to designate a super-Hate Crimes coordinator & staff within DeptJustice hdqtrs to ride honcho on the more difficult cases, nationally.

    Like Same Sex Marriage provisions, I keep wondering if we really need to extend hate crime prohibitions to sexual orientation, gender and disability status?

    I reflect on those Duke U lacrosse players… what if, while the county’s case was fizzling on the back burner, Nifong had threatened to bring in the feds and make it a Hate Crimes case and made that the focus of the proceedings while the weakened “rape” charges fell aside? Sometimes adding layers to prosecutorial privilege can weaken the rights of the accused.

    Somehow, I don’t usually equate gay hate crime legislation with employment, workplace and immigration discrimination against gays. But hey, the thread is young and, Bruce, you haven’t done any updates yet. (wink)

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — April 20, 2007 @ 9:57 am - April 20, 2007

  7. I’m sorry, but I agree with V the K; whenever I hear the words “hate crime” I blanche. To punish someone for committing a crime or hateful act is one matter. To punish somebody for what is in his heart or mind when the crime is committed is another thing entirely. Hate goes to motive; it’s not a crime in and of itself. And why should a (hypothetical) crime committed against me because the perpetrator hates gays be considered any worse than the identical crime committed against someone else because the perp hates that specific person?

    I know it sounds trite, but most voilent crime is caused by hate in some way or another, ergo most violent crimes are hate crimes.

    Comment by PSUdain — April 20, 2007 @ 10:45 am - April 20, 2007

  8. #7: Let me present a hypothetical pair of cases: Kilroy paints the words “Kilroy was here” on the wall of a drug store. John paints a swastika and the words “Jews will die” on the wall of a synagogue. Both Kilroy and John are caught. Do both deserve to be charged with the identical crime and subject to the identical punishment?

    Comment by Ian — April 20, 2007 @ 1:57 pm - April 20, 2007

  9. Ian, I’ll take a swing if PSUdain doesn’t… the message doesn’t matter unless it violates some other law not the proposed one –both parties defaced private property and ought to accept the LEGAL consequence for their conduct. I would hope prosecutors would afix resources equally and fairly… and judges could be creative in their sentencing and community work provisions BASED on the facts of the crime.

    Would John be subject to some extra-heaping on provisions of the Kennedy-Smith Matthew Shepard Act?

    No; the framers of the Act are well aware of the 1st A free speech and assembly/association issue(s) an example like yours would generate… that’s why the unusual provision has been added –to the glee of the ACLU even. And the framers also sought to insure that the proposed Act doesn’t add sentencing burdens –which is prudent.

    If Kilroy had spray painted his message on a wall and John carved his message in the forehead of a passing rabbi… there’s a difference.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — April 20, 2007 @ 2:24 pm - April 20, 2007

  10. What about the militant vegan who spray paints “Meat is murder” on a McDonald’s? Clearly, this is hate speech, but because politicians decided that people who own, work, or eat at McDonald’s should have less protection under the law than blacks, Jews, or gays, this vandal, if caught, despite being motivated by hate would not the perpetrator of a hate crime.

    Which is why punishment should focus on actual harm rather than motivations. Otherwise, a system is created by which hate against certain privileged groups is forbidden, but all right when directed against others.

    This is why hate crimes legislation is unnecessary and dangerous. Punish people for actual crimes, not because they hurt someone’s feelers.

    Comment by V the K — April 20, 2007 @ 2:54 pm - April 20, 2007

  11. #9: It’s not clear to me whether or not you believe the punishments should be identical. If you think the crimes are identical, then clearly the punishments should be as well.

    Comment by Ian — April 20, 2007 @ 3:09 pm - April 20, 2007

  12. Are you guys really gay????

    Comment by george — April 20, 2007 @ 3:46 pm - April 20, 2007

  13. Are YOU, georgie??

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — April 20, 2007 @ 3:55 pm - April 20, 2007

  14. This is a very interesting debate today. I have to say that honestly I’m on the fence. I don’t want to punish thoughts – we shouldn’t be. Nor should we punish speech. But to use the examples cited above, spray painting “Jews must die” is an act of vandalism, and while the words have meaning, they have no physical harm to anything but the physical building they are painted on.

    However, beating the sh*t out of someone for no other reason than because they are gay is an act of violence against a person because of who or what they are. In some ways, I think maybe we should make a societal judgment that this deserves a harsher punishment than a random mugging. A mugging victim is chosen because they are convenient. The victim of a gay bashing (or a racially motivated crime as well) is targeted not for convenience, but for who they are.

    I have not read the full language of the proposed bill, but it seems to me that the “hate” in question should be an element of a crime that the prosecutor must prove, much like motive. Or perhaps proving an attack was based on a bias creates a legal presumption of motive that the defendant must defeat? Not sure. Either way the bill must (and unless I am mistaken, the current version does) exempt speech that is speech, not violence.

    Comment by Mike — April 20, 2007 @ 4:17 pm - April 20, 2007

  15. Are YOU, georgie??

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    nice retort pencildick, once again you find it impossible to answer a question.

    Comment by george — April 20, 2007 @ 4:39 pm - April 20, 2007

  16. George you might damage your small mind in here.. be careful

    Comment by Vince P — April 20, 2007 @ 5:05 pm - April 20, 2007

  17. Hmm…sounds like “georgie” is really “markie” trolling in disguise.

    You are BUSTED, bucko.

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — April 20, 2007 @ 6:05 pm - April 20, 2007

  18. busted my arse, if you didn’t know who was calling you pencildick then you’d have to be brain dead. but then one could concluded that without too much supposition. go ahead dinosaurs, keep on ranting on your fascist ways. your boat don’t float. end your evil ways and detest the darkside. can you say bye bye doolittle, gonzo and your delussional ways. oh i forgot, cut and run has become their is no military victory and i mispoke has become i lied. rotf

    Comment by george — April 20, 2007 @ 7:19 pm - April 20, 2007

  19. fascists were socialist… weath grabbers… that’s a lefty thing

    Comment by Vince P — April 20, 2007 @ 7:26 pm - April 20, 2007

  20. I have mixed feelings on the whole idea of “hate crime”. On the one hand, it seems perilously close to thoughtcrime.

    On the other hand, “frame of mind” has long been a factor in jurisprudence.

    For example, a murderer who contemplates the crime (malice aforethought) is charged with a more serious offense than one who murders in the heat of the moment. A homeowner who kills an intruder gets a pass under the law if he believes that he or others are threatened (whether or not the threat actually exists).

    In the case of “Kilroy was here” versus “Jews must die”… the intent of the first scribbler is (most likely) to be a general pain in the arse; in the case of the second, the intent it to frighten and intimidate.

    I suppose that I lean against “hate crimes”. Just so judges and juries are allowed to take motive (which is in the mind of the perp) into account when imposing sentense.

    The problem with “hate crime” law is the creeping definition of Bad Thoughts. Seems like I’ve read recently of efforts in the EU to imprison people for denying the Holocaust. If stupidity is to be criminalized, they’d better get to building a lot of prison space.

    Comment by Robert — April 20, 2007 @ 9:23 pm - April 20, 2007

  21. But here’s a question I have for Log Cabin and the Hypo Rights Campaign — why is “gay marriage” a fundamental question of EQUALITY, but getting fired from your job because you are gay is just mere FAIRNESS?

    Let me attempt an answer: civil (not religious) marriage is a legal arrangement designed and recognized by the state. Certain rights and responsibilities attend marraige (e.g. debts, inheritance, visitation, decision-making for an incapacitated spouse, inability of the state to compel testimony from a spouse, etc).

    A job is an arrangement between private parties (except for gummint jobs – another matter).

    Basic job protections are a good thing. But I understand the concerns many employers have about another protected class. Everyone knows a story of some piss-poor employ (a member of some protected class) allowed to occupy space on the payroll only because no one wanted to risk getting hauled before the EEOC or defending a wrongful-dismissal suit.

    Comment by Robert — April 20, 2007 @ 9:41 pm - April 20, 2007

  22. [This commenter has been banned for repeatedly violating the terms of community conduct.]

    Comment by markie — April 20, 2007 @ 11:20 pm - April 20, 2007

  23. Beyond the thought crime aspect, this gets into special treatment. Why should one assault be investigated and prosecuted any different than another? Where’s the equality?

    If I got my arse kicked because I’m gay, I wouldn’t expect my case to be treated any different than a guy getting his kicked because he owes $50. I suppose I would if I felt entitled because I live my life as a constant victim, but I don’t.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — April 21, 2007 @ 1:35 am - April 21, 2007

  24. To #8, my apologies for my tardy response, but between classes and attending the PSU rugby match (and a few others) I just now got a chance to respond.

    My answer is a very simple, “Yes.” The crimes are not made more severe by their motives, only by their manner of execution. That’s how equal justice under the law works. As said above, a judge would have a little latitude in sentencing, but the sentencing should occur under the exact same laws for both people.

    As to some of the other comments, such as the case where someone is beaten because he’s gay, well, if it was a (pardon the flippant language) “spur of the moment” sort of thing, then why does it deserve any greater punishment than a “spur of the moment” mugging?

    However, depending on the crime, if there is an element of forethought, then there’s the possibility of an additional level of severity due to such forethought. And, in that instance, the hatred could go toward proving the “forethought and planning” element of a case.

    Beyond even this, proof of this “state of mind” could also have the potential to sway a jury or judge to impose a harsher sentence (perhaps the maximum instead of the minimum) if they thought it appropriate. There’s no reason to codify it; let people think for themselves a little.

    Comment by PSUdain — April 21, 2007 @ 3:41 am - April 21, 2007

  25. Which is why punishment should focus on actual harm rather than motivations.

    Then I suppose we should get rid of first, second and third degree murder charges. Because of course, asking a jury to consider whether a killing was premeditated is nothing more than thought police.

    Anyway.

    Motive has always been a mitigating or aggravating factor used within our criminal justice system. It’s therefore not inconsistent with the tradition of American jurisprudence to legislate that crimes based upon a specified prejudice be considered an aggravating factor when dispensing punishment. To codify a hate crime enhancement for such offenses is central to the state’s power of punishment as a deterrent.

    Comment by Chase — April 21, 2007 @ 4:51 am - April 21, 2007

  26. >Then I suppose we should get rid of first, second and third degree murder charges

    That was a stupid comparasion

    Comment by Vince P — April 21, 2007 @ 5:12 am - April 21, 2007

  27. [Comment deleted for violating community terms of conduct.]

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — April 21, 2007 @ 5:41 am - April 21, 2007

  28. Further, most of the debate here is in regard to legal aspects that have nothing to do with the hate crimes bill. Since speech is not a criminal offense in our justice system, anti-gay speech will remain unaffected by this bill. The bill only allows for an enhancement of charges when anti-gay prejudice is the primary motive in the commission of a violent act. It allows the state to consider motive in this type of criminal action as particularly egregious, the basis for which is no different than an added severity of punishment for domestic violence over traditional assault. Such ability is central to the state’s power of punishment as a deterrent.

    Comment by Chase — April 21, 2007 @ 5:49 am - April 21, 2007

  29. What do you gain out of calling me names, ThatGayConservative? I was discussing legal principle, you respond with personal attacks.

    What a waste of time these message boards are.

    Comment by Chase — April 21, 2007 @ 6:03 am - April 21, 2007

  30. [This commenter has been banned for repeatedly violating the terms of community conduct.]

    Comment by markie — April 21, 2007 @ 7:00 am - April 21, 2007

  31. as an aside to the “thought” crimes…a local boy here in Columbus, OH was charged, tried and convicted for what he wrote in his diary, which was a disturbing sexual/murder fantasy. naturally, the prosecutor is a republican.

    Comment by rightiswrong — April 21, 2007 @ 7:46 am - April 21, 2007

  32. I get a little queasy feeling when the subject of hate crimes is brought up. It’s creeping into thought crime territory. But yet again, one’s motive is usually taken into account: that’s what separates manslaughter charges from murder charges.

    Comment by Jimbo — April 21, 2007 @ 10:42 am - April 21, 2007

  33. #28 Chase, I’m sorry you had to be subjected to that.

    Comment by HardHobbit — April 21, 2007 @ 2:31 pm - April 21, 2007

  34. Because of course, asking a jury to consider whether a killing was premeditated is nothing more than thought police.

    If an attack against a gay person is premeditated, the courts and the jury have ample precedent for taking that fact into account in making their determination.

    But for what you are arguing, Chase, is that anything that happens to a gay person should automatically be punished at a higher level because the victim is gay.

    That fact was demonstrated by your fellow leftist Democrats just recently.

    Money quote:

    Detroit police spokesman Leon Rahmaan said investigators interviewed Anthos and his friend, who told police he thought Anthos may have been attacked but did not see it. The witness heard a noise, turned and saw Anthos on the ground, Rahmaan said.

    In this case, Democrats, including Carl Levin, and leftist gays demanded “hate crimes laws” and the initiation of a manhunt to capture and punish the person who allegedly attacked Anthos, even though they had no proof that this person had anything to do with Anthos’s injury in the first place, either by witnesses or by forensic evidence.

    Not that this surprises us; after all, it follows the example of the Duke “rape” case, also created, prosecuted, and supported by leftist gays and Democrats, in which the accusation of a minority was sufficient evidence to arrest and besmirch the reputations of others because they were wealthy white males.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — April 21, 2007 @ 3:27 pm - April 21, 2007

  35. What do you gain out of calling me names,

    It’s not about calling you names per se, but rather addressing those who want special treatment for their constant victimhood wich can also be attributed to the vaginalization of this country.

    #28 Chase, I’m sorry you had to be subjected to that.

    Feel better?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — April 21, 2007 @ 3:45 pm - April 21, 2007

  36. a local boy here in Columbus, OH was charged, tried and convicted for what he wrote in his diary, which was a disturbing sexual/murder fantasy.

    Yeah, the guy in question was writing fantasies about raping and murdering children, which is a very common precursor to actual acts of violence. Luckily, they caught him before he went on a murder spree like Cho the Psycho, or actually murdered a kid like Jesse Dirkhising or Jeffrey Curley. Good for them.

    Unlike the ACLU, I don’t see any socially redeeming value to writing about raping and murdering children. Yes, it’s an infringement on free speech, but so is yelling “Rosie O’Donnell” in a crowded all-you-can-eat buffet. There should never be a restriction on political speech (but, thanks to John McCain and Russ Feingold, there are), but child rape and torture? Yes, as a society, we can do without that. And it’s absurd that violent pr0n0graphy receives more Constitutional protection in our country than speech critical of our political elite.

    Comment by V the K — April 21, 2007 @ 8:08 pm - April 21, 2007

  37. I think the difference between first and second degree murders is an apt comparison with so-called hate crimes laws. We do consider what is in the person’s mind for the varioius types of homicide. So far, no one opposed to hate crimes laws has without qualification stated that in my Kilroy example, both perps should be treated exactly the same – there is invariably a reference to judicial leeway in sentencing, etc. Why should there be leeway if there was no distinction between the two crimes?

    In any event, if there are going to be hate crimes laws, there is no logical reason why sexual orientation should be excluded under such laws.

    Comment by Ian — April 22, 2007 @ 12:38 am - April 22, 2007

  38. Chase (and to a lesser degree, Jimbo in 32), I think that the flaw in your reasoning here lies in the the difference between motive and method. The element that differentiates the degrees of murder (and/or manslaugher) is not the motive of the person who did it. Motive is a point of proof used in the trial. The element that differentiates the degrees of murder (and/or manslaughter) is the method, most often via premeditation or lack thereof. External factors may sometimes be taken into account, but the motive is not applied in any of these differentiations.

    Comment by PSUdain — April 22, 2007 @ 2:13 am - April 22, 2007

  39. We do consider what is in the person’s mind for the varioius types of homicide.

    As I understand it, we don’t. At least not in the way you’re suggesting. As far as I know, the determination is based more on how (as far as premeditation is concerned) and not why.

    Am I wrong to understand that what you’re saying is that killing a man because he’s gay is worse than killing a man for his wallet?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — April 22, 2007 @ 6:07 am - April 22, 2007

  40. It is a bit … I don’t know what the word is… to invoke the name of Matthew Shepard in this debate because I doubt a law like this would have helped him. He was murdered by two brutal, brain-damaged, tweaked-out thugs looking for money to buy drugs. I somehow don’t see his killers saying, “Wait just a minute, if we kill this fellow, we are going to be subject to prosecution under Federal bias crime statutes. Perhaps, we ought not.” The mind of a drugged up thug just doesn’t work that way.

    But then, that’s nutty old me, looking for actual, practical, real-world applications of law, and not just symbolic gestures that make the elites feel good as they titter to each other at cocktail parties.

    Comment by V the K — April 22, 2007 @ 7:48 am - April 22, 2007

  41. Ian 37: Isn’t it basic fairness that we dont treat as the same thing the fact you killed someone unintentionally but in the heat of the moment as opposed to methodically planning to kill someone?

    I would have thought this was common sense.. but then when you deal with Leftists, I guess one can’t rely upon that.

    Comment by Vince P — April 22, 2007 @ 8:22 am - April 22, 2007

  42. #41: I would think it’s common sense that we treat a crime which has the dual purpose/effect of hurting an individual and in addition, terrorizing an entire community somewhat differently from a crime whose only purpose/effect is to hurt an individual.

    As I have said before, the reality is that we have hate crimes on the books and they are not going anywhere anytime soon. It certainly makes no sense to exclude sexual orientation from consideration under such statutes.

    Comment by Ian — April 22, 2007 @ 4:39 pm - April 22, 2007

  43. Just a friendly FYI…

    This post had nothing to do with hate crimes, but instead was a comparision of the language of “equality” of Marriage versus “fairness” of job discrimination language.

    Any comments about the job discrimination legislation????

    Comment by GayPatriot — April 22, 2007 @ 8:55 pm - April 22, 2007

  44. I have no problem with job discrimination laws on the State level or lower. I dont believe the Feds have jurisdiction.

    Comment by Vince P — April 22, 2007 @ 9:21 pm - April 22, 2007

  45. I would think it’s common sense that we treat a crime which has the dual purpose/effect of hurting an individual and in addition, terrorizing an entire community somewhat differently from a crime whose only purpose/effect is to hurt an individual.

    That’s not what a hate crime is. A hate crime is doing some action against someone because of one’s “hate” for that person’s class/classes.

    That does not mean that the offender is “sending a message” to everyone else in that class.

    Why should a more “refined” killer get more time than a general killer.. If a hate crime killer is only after one group isn’t that less dangerous than someone who is after everybody?

    Yes hte question is kind of absurd, because what you said is absurd.

    Comment by Vince P — April 22, 2007 @ 9:24 pm - April 22, 2007

  46. Back in reference to the original post:

    But here’s a question I have for Log Cabin and the Hypo Rights Campaign — why is “gay marriage” a fundamental question of EQUALITY, but getting fired from your job because you are gay is just mere FAIRNESS?

    What I think is interesting, GP, is that leftist gays and Democrats had no trouble with trying to get you fired from your job because you were gay.

    In fact, given that both Log Cabin and HRC staffers were helping Mike Rogers and John Aravosis do it, by their own admission, it just shows what horrible hypocrites they are.

    And by the way, I haven’t seen a single one of the national gay organizations condemn the misuse of these laws by leftist Democrat lesbians to protect their jobs when they demand sex as the price of advancement, discriminate against straight people and men, and torpedo the careers of those who refuse to have sex with them.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — April 23, 2007 @ 12:54 am - April 23, 2007

  47. 43, GP, yes, words matter somewhat, although I think intent and actions are more important. But regarding “fairness” vs. “equality,” I don’t think it’s an either…or thing. In order to have equality, then statutes should reflect that. In other words, if there are discrimination or hate crimes laws that protect almost all classes, then in “fairness” it should also protect homosexuals. When that happens, I would say there is equality, in terms of job discrimination laws. It just seems to me that “fairness” is a better fit than saying “equality,” but maybe there is something more to it like you suggest. As a side note, in fairness, such laws should also protect persons when they are harassed and/or discriminated by homosexual persons as well.

    As for hate crime laws, I am still on the fence on that one. I am in favor of including sexual orientation as a protected class whenever there is a hate crime law, since it sends a bad message otherwise. Other than that, I can see both sides of the issue. On the one hand, does it really matter if a person is mugged because the perpetrator wanted money or was a sick homophobe? And I obviously don’t believe that a person should be arrested for being antigay or having antigay thoughts and would be a violation of that person’s rights. I would definitely be against any hate crime law that does that. However, if a person uses that hate and commits a crime because of it (which sounds like aforethought and/or premeditation), to violate someone else’s rights, then I don’t think it’s unconstitutional to impose larger penalty for that crime. Murder is, in part, a thought crime, and has always carried a larger penalty. It is one thing to wish someone dead. But if that wish is then carried out, only then does the thought become a crime along with the actual act of killing someone. So far, despite attempts by many to do so, I don’t see how having the additional penalty for a hate crime, is any different than having the additional penalty for murder vs. manslaughter. Further, my understanding that first degree murder does not have to be “methodical.” Malice aforethought and premeditation can occur in as little as a minute. For example, if one kills someone, but it can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the perpetrator say a gay man, and decided in a minute that he was going to kill him because he was gay, then my understanding is that would be first degree murder.

    The main reason why I would support hate crime laws is if it would be a deterrent. For example, if some punks go out and punch someone out, they might get a night in jail and get off with some community time or whatever. Probably a no biggie for these persons. On the other hand, if these punks want to go out and assault the first gay guy they meet up with, they may think twice if their actions might result in real jail time. Of course, it won’t prevent all hate crimes, and it might not even deter crime at all. In which case, it would seem like the best thing is to simply enforce the laws much more strongly. Then again, this can still happen while people debate hate crime laws.

    Comment by Pat — April 23, 2007 @ 10:03 am - April 23, 2007

  48. >For example, if some punks go out and punch someone out, they might get a night in jail and get off with some community time or whatever. Probably a no biggie for these persons. On the other hand, if these punks want to go out and assault the first gay guy they meet up with, they may think twice if their actions might result in real jail time.

    What?! Lol.. you really think the law against assault (which I’m sure leads to more than a night in jail if convicted) is not a deterrent.. but the hate crime attachment IS? LOL.. Well all they would need to do is keep silent during thier assault and not allow there to be a basis for a hate crime charge.

    Comment by Vince P — April 23, 2007 @ 2:39 pm - April 23, 2007

  49. There are laws analogous to hate crime laws in as far as the purpose of the attack or the motivation is one of the elements of a crime as opposed to simple intent to inflict the harm. Witness intimidation is a separate and graver crime than other assaults, and the differece is the motive. There are also specialy prtecte classes under th law in some places, so that attackes on law enforcement officers are considered morte serious than aginst members of the general public, abd te basis is that this or some other groups will be especially targeted.

    Comment by Jim — April 23, 2007 @ 3:05 pm - April 23, 2007

  50. Vince, I understand that if assault is punished to the full extent, it would land a person in for more than one night in jail. But lots of times when it happens, there is a plea bargain, and the person gets out with a much lighter sentence, and perhaps not much time in jail. If there is an attachment because of the hate motive, it MAY have the potential perpetrator think twice.

    Yes, of course the person could fake the reason of the assault, just like a murderer could fake there being premeditation and aforethought. And the state would have to prove this additional part beyond a reasonable doubt. So both these persons could get away with the additional penalty. Nothing new there.

    So if your argument is not having all these plea bargains, and punish to the full extent of the law, that’s fine too. But to my knowledge, it doesn’t happen.

    Comment by Pat — April 23, 2007 @ 4:38 pm - April 23, 2007

  51. I think that with all the comments, I would like to be brief and to the point. From childhood we heard the word “fair” Most people understand it. The word is not threatening To understand “equal” is another step and most heterosexuals can’t comprehend. The guys in particular don’t get it. Yes they understand NASCAR, but not much more than that. Have a very nice fun and laughter filled day. Don’t worry about this one tooooooo much.

    Comment by Kathleen D Stephens — April 24, 2007 @ 12:51 pm - April 24, 2007

  52. GP:

    Your memory of history here is flawed.

    I am no fan of the HRC – but they were not pushing gay marriage – but rather pushing ENDA and Hate crimes legislation. HRC didn’t do much to fight DOMA when it was being pushed – and didn’t hold Clinton accountable for signing DOMA.

    It was gay individuals – not gay organizations bringing those cases to the courts. Remember that interracial marriage was decided in the courts – not in legislatures.

    That being said, I prefer a legislative strategy on all these issues.

    Comment by Eva Young — April 28, 2007 @ 9:53 pm - April 28, 2007

  53. If HRC and LCR are irrelevant–and you have said as much over and over again–then why do you spend such an inordinate amount of attention on them?

    Comment by sean — April 29, 2007 @ 6:03 pm - April 29, 2007

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