GOP Urges President to Use Veto on ‘Hate Crimes’ Bill
THE SENATE APPROVED EXPANSION of the federal “hate” crimes law to include homosexuals, lesbians and transvestites, defying a veto threat from President Bush. Republicans said they would try to remove the provisions in negotiations with the House but, if that fails, they urge Bush to follow through on his veto pledge.
Republicans were angry when Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced he would force a vote on the hate crimes measure as part of a major defense bill, calling it a “shameful” attempt to “hijack” essential legislation. Democrats said the measure addresses domestic “terrorism” aimed at homosexuals.
Homosexuals comprise less than 2% of the population, according to medical journals. And, while healthy Americans would rather not contemplate what they do to each other, few would hate them (contempt is no synonym for hate). But when an act of Congress requires federal authorities to look into someone’s mind and determine if the mugger was motivated not only by greed but also hate, there is an obvious First Amendment problem that ignorant fellows like Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), author of the bill, cannot understand.
It is impossible to have an unconstitutional thought. It is difficult to utter an unconstitutional word. Will a minister be charged with hate speech for preaching that homosexual acts are sinful, as taught in most Catholic and Protestant churches? No, insist proponents, only actions, not words, will be punished. Don’t believe them. It will be only a brief period until words become “actions.”
Oakland, Calif. officials found these words to hateful: “Marriage is the foundation of the natural family.” If the hate crimes legislation survives, watch your mouth. Another evil is the vast expansion of Washington power into your neighborhood. All states and localities have laws that harshly punish violent crimes. Most punish more harshly than the federal law.
But if a petty bureaucrat in Washington thinks that maybe the mugger hated the mugee, federal lawmen will come storming into your neighborhood to investigate.
“We believe that state and local law enforcement agencies are using their laws to the full extent they can,” said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino. “Our position has been consistent.”
(Issue #41, October 8, 2007)