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“Thinly veiled intolerance, bigotry and hate”

September 27, 2007

An update (because it’s been too long without politics around here).

The Matthew Shepard Act passed the Senate today.  That is the bill to expand hate crimes protection to include “sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and disability.”  It passed the House back in, i think, May.  Of course, there’s no telling what the president will do with it.

Lady Brett
“Scarecrow” – Melissa Etheridge

6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 27, 2007 11:26 am

    Your point? Is this a Good thing or a Bad thing? Your post doesn’t say or opine.

  2. September 27, 2007 11:42 am

    good. one, because i support hate crimes. but moreover because if we are going to have hate crimes legislation it is just stupid and unreasonable to fail to include some of the most victimized groups.

    now, the fact that we need the laws, that’s something else fucked up.

  3. September 27, 2007 11:57 am

    Ahhh – I’m sort of torn on the issue. I DON’T support hate crimes legislation because I don’t think the motivation for a crime should make a difference in its severity under the law. On the other hand, if we’re going to have such laws they should apply to each and all groups of people equally.

  4. September 27, 2007 12:02 pm

    hmm…and on rereading my last comment maybe i should have said i support hate crimes laws. But, also, that i don’t support them very strongly – i’m kind of with you on that part.

  5. September 29, 2007 12:39 pm

    I think the motivation of a crime absolutely matters, and completely support hate crime legislature. If you kill someone because they owed you money and you wanted it and blah blah blah, that’s kind of different than walking up to a gay person and stabbing them simply because their gayness somehow infringed on your life/manhood/marriage/masculinity whatever. One is the loss of human rationality… one is being a totally hateful bigot who probably can’t re-acclimate into society because the hatred has become so instilled into who they are. The person who kills someone because of a scuffle or something, they might be ale to able.

  6. September 29, 2007 1:50 pm

    i completely agree that motivation matters on a personal/moral level. however, i don’t think that it really matters legally. killing people is immoral in general, but that’s not why it’s illegal. it’s illegal because it’s a pretty big hindrance to society. while not always the case in practice, it is important that, in theory at least, the legal system does not legislate morality.

    Basically, the legal system is concrete, rational and heartless – is it should be. it’s job is to judge people on their actions. judging hate crimes leans in the murky direction of “thought crime”, which any liberal these days ought to be especially wary of.

    to use your example, you can’t arrest someone for being a totally hateful bigot just as you can’t arrest someone for being really pissed off ’cause dude owes him money. but when he acts on it, it is the law’s place – in either case.

    though it also seems (and this may just be a matter of what gets publicised) that a lot of the hate crimes committed are particularly gruesome (matthew shepard and jasper texas come to mind). which, in itself ought to lead to harsher sentancing. but that’s pure conjecture.

    so, i kind of want to support hate crime laws (good little queer progressive politics junkie that i am), but i just don’t think i can. i’m pretty conflicted on the whole thing, but i still hold at least that if we’re gonna have them they may as well be comprehensive.
    i also like a good argument, don’t take it personal ;)

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