The US House of Representatives just passed hate crimes legislation that would extend hate crimes protections to be based on sexual orientation and gender identity in addition to current protections for race, religion, color, and national origin. It still has to go through the Senate and then face veto by you know who.
The thing that really blows me away is that people are actually against this, and that those people happen to call themselves Chrisitians. Now, if folks have a problem with the idea of hate crimes protections in general, eh, I would be happy to discuss that. But the idea that some groups of people should get protections while other groups (groups which happen to experience a disproportionate amount of hate crimes) should not is completely ridiculous. As it happens, the religious right is coming out en force against hate crimes protections for lgbt people. I linked this article about this in an earlier post.
It seems the argument has something to do with first amendment rights. They say that they want to be able to anything they want about the “homosexuals” in their churches without the fear of getting arrested. Well, this legislation will not impinge on that right. They will still be constitutionally able to spew whatever anti-gay speech they want (from their pulpits or in the street), as long as they aren’t committing a crime against an lgbt person or their property while they are saying it.
Maybe those who are against this legislation have a sense of how closely bias and violence are tied. First thing you know after lgbt people have hate crimes protections, society is going to start thinking anti-lgbt hate speech isn’t so hot either. Wouldn’t that be terrible. To think that we queers deserve rights and respect just like the rest of you. Definitely a slippery slope from punishing gay-bashing to gays thinking they can just walk around openly on the street then who knows what could happen (I’m sure it would be really bad though).