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Matthew Shepard Act Must Pass Congress!

September 8, 2009

I have long argued for measures that adds on additional years in sentencing  for those who commit crimes that are directed at groups or classes of people.  The reason is clear, as soceity needs an additional deterrent for hate crimes from taking place.  These crimes are directed at society as a whole, and as such needs to be met with harsher penalties.

Some will argue that all crime is hateful, so why would additional sentencing guidelines be needed?  If you consider, as an example, burning a cross in a yard we know that it is not so much aimed at the owner of the property where it burned, but instead is meant to send a direct message to the larger community telling them to ‘be aware’.    The same type of message is meant for the gay community when gay beatings and murders take place.

As we observe the anniversary of the savage death of Matthew Shepard I again call on Congress to recognize the need for a hate crime law in the United States that would extend federal protections to people victimized because of sexual orientation.  The measure to do just that is called the Matthew Shepard Act.  Each house of Congress has approved the bill five times since 1997, only to drop it from final measures under pressure from conservatives who argued that the law would censor free speech.

 To that I say B.S.

There is NO justification to stand in the way of this bill except to give cover to the darkest elements of society who use violence as a tool to promote hate and bigotry.  The Democrats control Congress, and we have the White House.  There is no reason that this bill does not pass now, and be signed into law.

2 Comments
  1. September 8, 2009 4:27 PM

    I am old enough to recall a time….not so long ago….when differing ideas did not make you Un-American. It might make you ‘wrong’, but we were still all the same as countrymen. It is your vile comment posted here that strikes to the heart of what is wrong in the nation today, and the cause of so much discord.

    I am also old enough to know of the HUAC. You seem to have no regard for the way this country was constructed, or the path that has led us to this point. I suggest you read the letters between Adams and Jefferson (which I did this summer) and commit yourself to a firmer grasp of our common bonds as citizens.

    You can slam my views, but you should be ashamed of the tactic you displayed in your comment. I thought higher of you.

  2. September 8, 2009 4:17 PM

    Well it could be that Americans – there are a few of us left – unlike Liberals, do not approve of criminalizing thought. If you criminalize motive, then you criminal thought; there’s no way around that fact or the fact that such an idea is utterly counter to what America stands for.

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