Dateline Washington… news via Log Cabin Republicans.
Senate Approves Anti-Gay Hate Crimes Bill 60-39 – All Headline News
Senate Democrats on Thursday morning passed by a 60-39 vote a hate crimes bill attached to the critical defense appropriations bill funding the Iraq War and Pentagon.
The bill incorporates violent crimes against gays into the federal hate crimes laws.
The hate crimes bill had key bipartisan support from co-sponsors Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Gordon Smith (R-Ore.).
“We cannot fight terror abroad and accept terror at home,” Smith was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.
“The defense authorization is about dealing with the challenges of terrorism overseas…This (bill) is about terrorism in our neighborhood,” Kennedy said according to the AP.
However, many Republicans viewed it as inappropriate.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said that violent crimes against homosexuals did not constitute terrorism and adding such a bill to the defense authorization amounted to a “hijack” of the bill, which includes a pay raise for troops during war time, the AP reports.
Analysts had said that adding the hate crimes bills lessened the chances the defense appropriations bill will be passed.
But delaying passage of the defense authorizations bill buys time for Democrats to muster more Republican support to develop a plan to withdraw from Iraq, according to The Hill reports.
We have mixed feelings here at GayPatriot on the hate crimes legislation. I would have much preferred a full-court press on Employment Non-Discrimination legislation than his close-to-borderline infringement on the First Amendment. And I certainly think it is a mistake to put this legislation onto the Defense Appropriations Bill!!
For over a decade our community has worked tirelessly to ensure protections to combat violence motivated by hate and today we are the closest we have ever been to seeing that become a reality. Congress has taken an historic step forward and moved our country closer to the realization that all Americans, including the GLBT community, are part of the fabric of our nation. The new leadership in Congress fully understands that for too long our community has been terrorized by hate violence. And today, the US Senate has sent a clear message to every corner of our country that we will no longer turn a blind eye to anti-gay violence in America.
By the way, does the hate crimes legislation do something useful like make illegal the efforts to publicly “out” gay Americans against their wishes? That would be a nice amendment….