Hate-Crime Bill: A Third Strike?

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Hate-Crime Bill: A Third Strike?

Seattle Post-Intelligencer Editorial

The House voted Thursday to include sexual orientation and gender to the categories protected by federal hate crimes law. Also being considered is a measure that would ban job discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Finally! It's taken only, what, 16 years to get this done?

Naturally, the president has threatened to veto the bill. A White House statement said the bill offered "no persuasive demonstration of any need to federalize such a potentially large range of violent crime enforcement," as if making hate crimes against gay, lesbian and transgender individuals a federal crime would be meaningless.

The White House also called the hate crimes bill "unnecessary and constitutionally questionable."

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Hmm. You know what else is constitutionally questionable? Having the stuffing kicked out of you because your sexual orientation is considered a different category of crime from having the stuffing kicked out you for belonging to a certain race or religion. In the wise words of Dr. Seuss, "A person is a person."

Saying that clergy could be accused of aiding and abetting a hate crime by speaking against homosexuality -- as opponents of the bill have been -- is weak. We have laws protecting freedom of speech and religion in this country.

So far, President Bush has vetoed stem cell research (science) and a timeline for troop withdrawal from Iraq (peace). Let's see if he'll go for a foolish third and strike out against equal rights.

© 2007 The Seattle Post-Intelligencer

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