Thursday, July 31, 2008

Gay Man Sues Bible Publishers for Mental Distress

RELATED: The Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007

Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) had introduced a hate-crimes bill to the Senate in 1997, 1999, 2001, and 2003. None were successful. Senator Gordon H. Smith (R-OR) has sponsored or co-sponsored a hate-crimes bill in the senate for the previous five consecutive Congresses. In 2007, they joined to sponsor the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 (s. 1105), which Senators Smith and Kennedy renamed in honor of Matthew Shepard -- the young man who suffered death by crucifixion in Wyoming. Its short title is the: "Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007."

A companion bill was introduced by Representatives John Conyers (D-MI) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) with 171 cosponsors: House Bill H.R. 1592.

“Sexual orientation is the last bastion of acceptable hatred, discrimination and untold bias. Members of this community are being consistently harassed and terrorized. There are still people who think that gays and lesbians should burn in hell.” (Kristin Miccio, associate prof., University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law)

On July 11th 2007, instead of introducing the legislation giving sexual orientation "hate crimes" protection as a separate bill, Senators Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Gordon Smith (R-OR) opted to introduce the "Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act" as one of hundreds of amendments to the Defense Reauthorization bill requested by President Bush.

Sens. Kennedy and Smith's strategy, Staver said, forces the President into a terrible dilemma: President Bush must either approve "hate crimes" legislation or veto the entire spending bill thus leaving US troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan without new support and dwindling resources. Since the President has no line-item veto, approval of the defense bill is an all or nothing deal.

In December, 2007, the Democrats pulled HR 1592 and S.1005 from the Defense Reauthorization Bill. DOA.

Christian Groups are actively working against any Hate Crimes Bills as it would also take into question any clergy preaching hate against homosexuals from the pulpit. The Right Wing Christian groups feel this is an attack on their 1st amendments rights.

“The idea of a ‘hate crime’ is completely contrary to the American principles of free speech and equal protection under the law. Any Senator who voted for this is setting up our children and grandchildren for persecution as activist courts rule that biblical morality is ‘bigotry’," said Robert Knight.

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