Friday, October 23, 2009

Hate Crimes Bill Finally Passes And Includes LGBT Protections!

Attached to a defense appropriation bill, the Matthew Shepard-James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act is finally law or at least will be when President Obama signs it today.

This long awaited step toward full rights and protections for all people has languished in Congress for far too long. The bill includes race, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity! It was finally attached to a must-pass defense spending bill as a tactic to push it through. Though it has nothing to do with defense, this tactic is a common one to get bills passed.

Of course the far-right is pissed. They are claiming it will stifle freedom of religion? really? The law only covers actions not speech, so unless your religion is one that actively participates in hate crimes you've got nothing to worry about. That might make some folks nervous who are militant white supremacists or neo-nazis but for everyone else it's not going to affect us.

What it will do is make hate crimes easie to prosecute at a federal level and that is a good thing.

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