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Hate Crimes Go Under Punished and Result in More Crime.

September 15, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

Hate Crime - RacismYou may remember the 2006 convictions of Pete Billiot and Dwayne Adam Racine for the attack of a black offshore worker, but it’s likely you don’t.  The story received some national media coverage, but as is the case with most hate crimes, it wasn’t enough.  We can all grimace when someone murders another person regardless of the motivation, but when the motivation is bias or prejudice because of the persons race, creed, color, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, it’s particularly painful, particularly to members of that “suspect class.” Lots of thoughts race through the minds of those that could have been attacked and/or murder because of the same violent biases.

There have been many cases wherein those that commit such crimes get nothing more than a slap on the wrist.  In fact, a recent case of murder resulted in a full acquittal of the charge against the admitted murderer simply because he was motivated to kill a queer man after the man “hit on him.”

In the present case of Billiot and Racine; however, there may be some form of justice yet – albeit not for the proper crime.  It was reported yesterday that Billiot and Racine, who received very little jail time for their crime which outraged civil rights leaders, were arrested again.  This time for possession of marijuana with intention of distribution.

The two men were passengers in a car being driven by 17-year old, Samantha Scott.  Officers stopped the vehicle due to an expired inspection sticker, and upon obtaining consent, searched the vehicle and found a “crack pipe” and 52 grams of marijuana.  Samantha then reported to the officers that they were going to try to sell the drugs.  This is where “insert thud noise” would ordinarily be appropriate; however, no one ever said those that keep company with racists, or racists themselves were very “smart.”

Civil rights leaders in Louisiana had been planning a protest against the lenient sentencing of Racine and Billiot for today.

In another breaking case, a suburban New York teenager with a tendency to wear clothing marked with symbols such as swastikas and Ku Klux Klan logos, recently attacked another non-white. His last attack was in April; however, in the more recent attack, apparently motivated by bias/prejudice, a Hispanic man was shot with a BB gun and suffered minor injuries.  The teen was out on bail awaiting trial for the precious hate crime charge.

Race was the motivating factor in over half (51%) of all hate crimes committed in 2007, followed by religion (18%), then sexual orientation/gender identity (17%).  Yet, we are still waiting for Obama to sign Federal Hate Crimes Legislation… when will we learn?

Hate Crimes Legislation: Obama, won’t you buy me an F22?

July 20, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: Featured, Hate Crimes

f22The Hate Crimes Bill has, at long last, passed the Senate. Hooray! Wait, what? Obama might veto it? That’s right folks. Why? Because Republicans added 1.5 billion dollars for F22’s. Those would-be state of the art military jets.

Let me just get this off my chest first. I have no clue what those two things have to do with each other. Yet, we all know, that passing legislation is a game of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” It’s never really been about what citizens deserve. It’s all about special interests and party allegiance. What I’m trying to say is, crazy or stupid, like it or not,  this is how our government works. Heck, I’m ready to tie same-sex marriage to a new Star Wars program. Why not?

How do I feel about this? How does the LGBT community feel about this? Here’s what I feel. Rational? I have no clue. I feel tired of waiting for this legislation. I’m straight, white, not disabled, not part of a targeted group of any kind. I just believe in protecting people who are targets. Even people I disagree with, like the religious right. Violence isn’t an answer.

Does the military need F22’s? I don’t know. Are there F22 pilots, sitting around, “plane-less”? Well, not if they are gay with 18 years of spotless service and they’ve been outed. Will F22’s hurt the LGBT community? Hmm. Seems unlikely. It will make jobs for people who make F22’s. Can we use them for night time surveillance of high crime areas? Can we give them to gay pilots?

Obama, won’t you buy me an F22? My enemies fly bombers, and you know what they can do. Worked hard for equal rights, so close to the end. Obama, won’t you buy me protection for my friends?

jaysays.com contributor geekgirlgeekgirl: Geekgirl (Jude) is a straight woman, a mom and has been married for 32 years to the same wonderful man. She believes in Buddhism and attends the United Church of Christ. She is a molecular biologist, her best friend is a lesbian, and she believes that every human deserves equal rights, respect and a life free from hate, fear and discrimination. The only thing she hates is pickles. Check out her LGBT Science blog.

What Do Hate Crimes and Travel Promotion Have in Common?

June 15, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

HateCrimesTravelMaybe it’s just me, but I can’t for the life of me figure out what hate crimes and the promotion of tourism into the United States have to do with each other.  However, as is being reported via an “unnamed source” by way of the Washington Blade, Americablog and Pam’s House Blend, The United States Senate has, apparently, deemed adding the current Hate Crimes Bill (which passed the House as H.R. 1913) as an Amendment to S. 1023, also known as the Travel Promotion Act of 2009, proper.

The purpose of S. 1023 is “to establish a non-profit corporation to communicate United States entry policies and otherwise promote leisure, business, and scholarly travel to the United States.”

*THUD NOISE*

But this is, apparently, the bill which will get sexual orientation and gender identity included into existing federal hate crimes legislation – have gays, will travel.

As a very vocal advocate of Hate Crimes Legislation, I’ll be thrilled should the bill pass in any form; however, as Pam Spaulding wrote at Pam’s House Blend:

Sorry, folks, we’ll be elated to see the federal hate crimes bill succeed (and for the fundies to take a temporary bath), but there’s no way to mitigate the hate brief’s [Memorandum in Support of Motion to Dismiss] damage to LGBT rights.

Well Pam, I think our knight in a shinning civil rights façade can mitigate the damages caused by the hate brief by: (1) withdrawing the Motion to Dismiss (which does not require legislative authority); (2) repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell [DADT] or at least halting investigations and dismissals as a result of DADT (again without legislative authority); and (3) at minimal, proposing legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA].  Then maybe (just maybe) I’ll hammer the dents out of my Obama button, pull my Advocate Magazine with him on the cover out of the trash and say, “Damn, I was wrong, this man actually does have a little integrity.”  Now, if we add an Employer Non-Discrimination Act to that mix, I may just have to eat crow and give my first scientifically developed, genetically enhanced, super-brain child to Obama in retribution.

Stupid Things People Say About Gays: Under Federal Hate Crimes, Church Will Be Responsible for Gay Bashing Parishioners

May 18, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Stupid Things People Say About Gays

Stupid Things People Say About GaysIn another article full of misleading, inaccurate information [o.k. lies] the Church Executive is reporting that Hate Crimes legislation on the federal level will lead to the prosecution of those expressing the opinion that homosexuality is a sin.

But the 1,400-member National Religious Broadcasters says Christian broadcasters and even pastors covering culturally unpopular views, such as preaching homosexuality as sin, could face prosecution just for expressing their religious views because their teachings could be blamed for inciting violence.

In previous posts, I’ve covered why this view is inaccurate and suggested people read the text of the bill and make their own conclusions, the obvious being that the bill is not designed and clearly is not about “speech.”  Therefore, we move on from that “stupid things people say about gays” onto a stupid comment about the Church Executive article.

The problem is that if someone leaves the church and decides to act out the Church and preacher will be held responsible. You need to brush up on what transpired in Canada and if you don’t think this will happen here you are very naive.

Perhaps the person spouting that “I” – yes this was a direct comment to me – need to brush up on what occurred in Canada to see that Canadian law applies to U.S. proposed legislation, wasn’t aware that Canada has a law against “Hate Speech.” Canada’s law, which is arguably under-enforced, actually prohibits Hate Propaganda under Sections 318 & 319 of the Criminal Code of Canada. Hate propaganda would include the written or spoke word, thus criminalizing preaching from the pulpit that we gather up the Wiccans and burn them.

This is contrary to the proposed U.S. Legislation.  In fact, there have been interesting cases protecting a preacher in the United States against bans on his/her first amendment right.  According to a brilliant article at Religious Tolerance:

[…] a conservative Christian teleminister in the early 1990s advocated the execution of all Wiccans in the U.S. More recently, a Baptist pastor from Texas advocated that the U.S. army round up Wiccans and burn them alive with napalm. Both clergy were immune from prosecution due to the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment which guarantees almost complete freedom of speech in the country.

So without any legal support, the Religious Reich makes these claims using the voice of the shepard and the flock follows.  They continue to advocate against protections from brutal, violent attacks because their “free speech” will be violated; although, the truth is the same protections we [LGBT people] ask for, will protect those who deny us the same protections; our rights to free speech and protections against crimes:

motivated by prejudice based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim, or is a violation of the State, local, or Tribal hate crime laws. [emphasis added]

Kay Bailey Hutchison Says No to Civil Rights (not just gays either!)

May 08, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Hate Crimes, LGBT News

No Kay - It's not O.KayThe Senator from Texas, who hopes to win over voters and become the next Governor of Texas in 2010, has a history of voting against legislation regarding civil equality.  In fact, the ACLU scores the senator at only 25% when it comes to her voting record on civil rights, the Human Rights Campaign scored her at 0%, and the NAACP scored her at only 18%.  Here’s a snippet of her record:

  • Voted YES on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. (S. J. Res. 1)
  • Voted NO on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes. (S. 625, 2002 and S.2549, 2000)
  • Voted YES on ending special funding for minority & women-owned business.(S.1173, 1997)
  • Voted YES on prohibiting same-sex marriage. (HR 3396, 1996)
  • Voted NO on prohibiting job discrimination by sexual orientation.  (S. 2056, 1996)
  • Voted YES on loosening restrictions for cell phone wiretapping. (S. 1510, 2001)

In spite of Senator Hutchison’s anti-civil-rights votes, I still felt compelled to attempt to sway her opinion.  I therefore sent her an email regarding the current Senate Bill 1103 (H.R. 1913) requesting she support the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act.  The following is her response:

Thank you for contacting me regarding hate crime legislation.  I welcome your thoughts and comments on this issue.

In the 110th Congress, Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) introduced S. 1105, the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act.  This legislation would have provided federal assistance to states, local jurisdictions, and Indian tribes to prosecute hate crimes.  The bill defined a hate crime as a violent crime motivated by a prejudice based on actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.  When the language was offered as an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill, I voted against including it. The language was removed prior to final passage of the measure.

On April 2, 2009, Representative John Conyers (D-MI) introduced H.R. 1913, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009.  This measure contains provisions similar to those contained in S. 1105 and equivalent legislation in the House of Representatives, H.R. 1952, both of which were introduced during the previous Congress.

I continue to believe that all violent crimes should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, regardless of the underlying motivation.  Should legislation regarding hate crimes come before the full Senate, you may be certain that I will keep your views in mind.

I appreciate hearing from you, and I hope that you will not hesitate to keep in touch on any issue of concern to you.

Sincerely,
Kay Bailey Hutchison
United States Senator

284 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
202-224-5922 (tel)
202-224-0776 (fax)
http://hutchison.senate.gov

A review of her voting record and the above email response indicates that Ms. Hutchison’s opinions on civil rights issues have not changed during her tenure in public office and apparently, will not change.  If you are a member of a minority group, including women, this record should be appalling to you.  I encourage those supporting Ms. Hutchison to cease that support.  Please contact Ms. Hutchison’s office and let her know that we will know longer stand idly by while she strips rights from the American people.

Stupid Things People Say About Gays: If Gays Stayed in the Closet – We Wouldn’t Kill Them

May 06, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Stupid Things People Say About Gays

Stupid Things People Say About GaysVirginia Foxx wasn’t the only person to say something stupid on the House floor during debates about Hate Crimes Legislation. Foxx, who now infamously referred to Matthew Shepard’s murder as a “hoax,” may have sunk to an all new low, but Iowa Rep., Steve King, actually felt there was a great way to prevent hate crimes – don’t act gay.  While speaking, he stated:

If you keep those things private, there can be no discrimination. And that’s what I submit is the right thing to do when it comes to sexuality, Mr. Speaker.

It’s obvious that Rep. King is unfamiliar with two highly discussed aspects of hate crimes against homosexuals.  Unlike crimes against people because of race, hate crimes against gays can occur because of actual or perceived homosexuality.  In fact, in a recent murder more fully discussed here, the two men attacked were not gay at all, but heterosexual brothers.

Further, Rep. King’s suggestion wreaks of a question I’m asked often, “Why do you have to flaunt it?”

First, I have to make the assumption that by “flaunting” it, the questioner is referring to the fact that I… don’t change the gender of my partner when people ask or occasionally say things like, “fabUloUs” or “intellect.”  By flaunting it, I assume the questioner must be referring to the fact that I constantly suggest people call their representatives and support equality for all people, not just a select class. By flaunting it, I’m assuming they mean doing the exact same things that they would do while out on a date with their boyfriend/girlfriend: hold hands, laugh, talk, smile a lot, sit close together – all things Rep. King and his Going Out of Politics contemporaries do to flaunt their sexuality and to blame the victim of the crime rather than the criminal.

“She deserved it, she was wearing a short dress.”

“He deserved it, he was prancing down the street.”

When will our society learn that the victim of the crime never “asks” to be a victim, they only ask for you to help prevent more victims.


Stupid Things People Say About Gays: Hate Crimes Legislation Will Protect Incest and Pedophilia

April 28, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Stupid Things People Say About Gays

Stupid Things People Say About GaysI haven’t done a “Stupid Things People Say About Gays” in a while.  Lots has been happening, but there’s certainly no shortage of stupid things people are saying.  Here’s the latest from the AFA (American [heterosexual only] Family Association):

Congress is set to give legally protected status to 30 sexual orientations, including incest. Because of pressure from homosexual groups, Congress has refused to define what is meant by sexual orientation in H.R. 1913, the “Hate Crimes” bill. This means that the 30 different sexual orientations will be federally protected classes.

Come on now… how much more ridiculous can you get.  Someone call Bullshit already…. ok, “BULLSHIT!”  Here’s the actual text of the bill, which states what a “Hate Crime” is:

[A Hate Crime ] is [a crime] motivated by prejudice based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim, or is a violation of the State, local, or tribal hate crime laws.

Now, because I like to play God’s Advocate and show this in a more telling light, I’ll be the first to admit that “sexual orientation” is not currently legally defined by the Hate Crime’s legislation; however, to argue that “incest” is a sexual orientation rather than a sexual act is completely bogus, speculative and would never hold up in any legitimate argument – not that the AFA is renowned for “legitimate” arguments.  Generally, when the law fails to specifically define a term, the term is given its “usual and customary meaning.”  In this case, sexual orientations usual and customary meaning is:

One’s natural preference in sexual partners; predilection for homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality.  [sexual orientation. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved April 28, 2009, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/sexual orientation]

One may note that neither the word incest nor bestiality is referenced in the usual and customary definition of sexual orientation.

The AFA has also made claims that the Hate Crimes legislation would prevent preachers from preaching homosexuality as a sin in church; however, they obviously have not read the bill which is very specific in defining hate crimes as a “crime of violence” a term defined by Section 16, Title 18 of the United States Code:

The term “crime of violence” means:

(a) an offense that has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or prop­erty of another, or

(b) any other offense that is a felony and that, by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.

Therefore, unless the preacher specifically uses, attempts to use or threatens the use of physical force against a person or their property, they can say whatever they want.  If you are a member of a church that does use, threatens to use or attempts to use physical force against ANYONE, I highly suggest you realize that only SATAN would allow such treatment and consider a new church that has not been infultrated by Satan in the guise of God.  Remember, “Thou Shalt Not Kill.”

More from fellow blogger, SistersTalk.

Priority of Hate Crimes Legislation

April 21, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Community Outreach, Hate Crimes, LGBT Action Alerts, LGBT News

Perhaps as if in response to the poll and post yesterday on jaysays and discussions during the 2009 Twitter Town Hall Meeting for LGBT Activists, the HRC released an action alert today which states, in part:

Congress could vote as soon as NEXT WEEK on the hate crimes bill that would give LGBT people the protections they need and deserve, and honor the memory of Judy’s son [Matthew Shepard].

This action alert forces our hand in the debate over prioritizing “Gay Rights.”  It is obvious we cannot sit idlely by and allow this bill to fail.  Therefore, HRC is encouraging all to contact their representatives and encourage them to vote “yes” on H.R. 1913, also known as the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

The letter proposed by HRC (linked above) makes the following statement contradicting the lies and deceitfulness that so-called holy folk are perpetuating in a nice little nutshell:

The opponents of the bill are throwing up a smokescreen, claiming it will stifle free speech and undermine organized religion. You must reject these false, misleading arguments. To help protect our communities from the terror and brutality of hate-driven violence, please stand up for civil rights and vote for the Matthew Shepard Act.

The right, in a way that only they can distort truth and law, claims that such legislation would prevent preachers from preaching that homosexuality is a sin.  BOGUS.  The U.S. Constitution secures our right of free speech along with their right.  The legislation aims to target violent crimes against LGBT people – not ideology or mythology.  In fact, the current hate crimes act of 1994 would simply expand to include sexual orientation and [hopefully in final form] gender identity.  The current bill only applies when a person: “willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, or an explosive or incendiary device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin of any person.”  Obviously, preaching lies at the pulpit is not included.

Another argument against H.R. 1913 is: laws against violent crimes already exist, why introduce new law?  Actually H.R. 1913 is not geared to introduce “new law” per se.  The bill clearly states its intent in the introduction:

To provide Federal assistance to States, local jurisdictions, and Indian tribes to prosecute hate crimes, and for other purposes.

So, yeah.  More lies from those that believe it is a sin to lie.

Click here to read the full text of H.R. 1913 and make a decision for yourself.

LGBT Activist Debate: Which Right is Priority?

April 20, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Thought of the Gay

During the April 20, 2009 Twitter Town Hall Meeting for LGBTQ activists and allies, an interesting debate was raised, essentially asking, should LGBTQ activists put all their resources toward one right at a time such as Marriage Equality or Employment Non-Discrimination, or continue to pour our resources into all aspects of Civil Rights?

Upon discussion, the general consensus seemed to be that we should continue fighting for the repeal of DOMA, repeal of DADT, passage of a Federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act [ENDA], Hate Crimes Legislation, Equal Taxation, and the list goes on.

As part of the discussion, I began a poll which gauges the temperature of LGBT Activists and allies. The poll is set to close on April 30, 2009. While the poll is open, we can open the dialogue to discuss our votes. The current results are trending in a surprising results.

I mistakenly assumed that “All of the above, no one right is more important” would win; however, at this moment it is tied with 10 votes for a Federal Employer Non-Discrimination Act and 10 votes for all of the above.

Why is this current result surprising? I expected Same Sex Marriage to be the closest second to “All of the above.”  This was not an unwarranted expectation considering media coverage of the Gay Civil Rights Movement has been restricted almost entirely to “gay marriage.”

Further, it is my belief that federal recognition of same-sex marriage, the rest will quickly follow. For example, if the government says to the people, “we do not discriminate,” the people stop learning to discriminate rendering hate crimes legislation moot and ENDA inevitable [I know, utopia]. In addition, the primary cause of unequal taxation is  the lack of federal marriage recognition; therefore, for me at least, it stood to reason that most would vote for either “All of the above” or “Same Sex Marriage.”

So what are the arguments for why the ENDA is most important? Simple, passage of the ENDA would result in gays being listed federally as a “protected class” resulting in every peice of legislation and/or court ruling in favor of a protected classes being applicable to gay people [ultimately], a reasonable and sound argument.

Thus far, the arguments supporting “All of the Above” seem to only take into account that any violation of a civil right is repugnant and must be addressed. However, with this argument we must step back from our passions and consider proper strategy. Has it been strategic for us to give funds, time and effort to numerous discriminatory practices or would we be better served to “put all of our eggs in one basket?”

My initial response is, put all of our eggs in one basket, marriage equality, and allow the rest to follow; however, I’m quickly finding myself to second guess that. Therefore, as the poll continues, I will continue to examine the issues therein and encourage your feedback.

Gay Bashing at a Sports Bar: What Would You Do?

March 24, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Discrimination, Hate Crimes, LGBT News

ABC News recently aired filmed “What Would You Do?”  In it, ABC hired two openly gay male actors, one heterosexual couple and one “gay basher” to go to a local sports bar.  The heterosexual couple and homosexual couple agreed to show affection toward one another and gauge the crowds reaction.

They began with the afternoon lunch crowd.  The retained gay basher made numerous remarks about the gay couple and found two allies to agree with his derogatory remarks; however, it quickly turned south when a man (who I will call HERO) arrives and puts the gay basher in his place.  Mr. Hero goes as far as to tell the gay couple, “I think you’re beautiful.”

Unfortunately, night time didn’t go so well for the gay couple.  Although no one noted the heterosexual couple showing affection, the homosexual received all sorts of negative attention; however, so does one of the gay bashers who receives this comment:

Nobody else in here is making me uncomfortable, you are making me uncomfortable.

She then abruptly excited the bar.

Perhaps the thing that most will find shocking about this video is the high level of passion from both Mr. Hero and the hateful lady (Ms. Hateful) near the end.  Unfortunately, the Mr. Heroes are far outnumbered in the world by the Ms. Hatefuls.  However, this video is a remarkable example of homophobia exposed – the daily lives of gay couples should we not “hide” our affection for one another and instead participate in the same rituals of our heterosexual counterparts.

For more on this episode of ABC’s What Would You Do, visit ABC News: Gay Bashing at a Sports Bar: What Do You Do?.