U.S. hate crime bills/laws - 2009
More positive reactions to the law.
|Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance said:|
"In an America increasingly rife with uncivil and narrow-minded bickering,
this new law can serve as a ringing pronouncement of our democracy's common
values. Namely, that we utterly reject hate violence and embrace an America in
which diverse people are safe as well as free."
|Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform
"This carefully crafted law will not infringe on any individual's First
Amendment rights. It addresses violent acts and no person, whether a faith
leader or otherwise, will be prosecuted for their thoughts, words, or
|Richard Shreve at OpEdNews wrote:|
"Senators Specter, Levin and Leahy spoke to the press and advocates for the
legislation. Levin made it clear that religious leaders can continue to
express their beliefs [concerning the morality of behavior protected by the
law] as they see fit. The bill only applies to bias-motivated crimes of
violence, and includes strong protections of speech and association."
|Attorney General, Eric Holder said:
"Hate crimes victimize not just individuals, but entire communities.
Perpetrators of hate crimes seek to deny the humanity that we all share,
regardless of the color of our skin, the God to whom we pray, or whom we love."
|Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) became the first openly lesbian member of the
House, in 1998-NOV. She was the first GLBT person to run for office as a
lesbian. Four previous gay House members only revealed their sexual
orientation after having been elected. 8
She said, shortly after the signing:|
"It was an incredibly moving ceremony-Judy and Dennis Shepard were in
the front row watching this historic event. I had the chance to speak with
both of them before the ceremony began and to recognize their incredible
efforts to make this day possible."
"Hate crimes are a particularly horrific type of crime. Many have
characterized it as acts of domestic terrorism, because not only is there an
immediate victim of violence who's selected by virtue of a characteristic such
as race, or religion, or sexual orientation, or gender identity; but once that
crime occurs, it sends a terrorizing message to all who share that
"Believe it or not, this is the first piece of legislation dealing with LGBT
civil rights ever to be signed into law at the federal level. I do hope it
will be the first of many yet to come, so that we are able to achieve full
equality in the years and months ahead." 9
|Haris Tarin, National Community Development Director of the Muslim Public
Affairs Council (MPAC) wrote: |
"Hate crimes encroach on the civil and human rights that apply to people from
all walks of life, and hate itself is at times the wedge that drives communities
apart. In the United States, civil rights are part of the American fabric of
life. As stated by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, "We hold
these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
|Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign -- the largest
group in the country advocating for lesbian, gay, transgender and
transsexual (LGBT) rights -- wrote:|
"We look forward to President Obama signing it into law: our nation's first
major piece of civil rights legislation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender people." 6
|Equality Maryland commented:|
"The 68-29 vote was a victory for civil rights and disability groups that have
been fighting for years to expand the federal hate-crimes statutes." 7
|Rea Carey, director of the National Gay and
Lesbian Task Force wrote in a letter to their supporters:|
"This is a victory for the Task Force, for LGBT people, and for everyone
committed to justice and equality. Together we rejected efforts to protect
some but not all by demanding that gender identity be included in the law. And
you spoke out -- loudly and clearly -- against efforts to twist hate crimes
protections into an excuse to expand the injustice of the death penalty."
"Today, we have taken an important step forward on the march to full equality.
We still have a long road ahead of us, but with your continued support and
action, and with the unwavering commitment of the LGBT community and straight
allies, we will finally create a world where no one will be subjected to
violence or any other injustice simply for living their lives, honestly and
openly, and being who they are." 2
|McCoy, pastor of Canaan Baptist Church in St. Louis, and president of the
Missouri Baptist Convention said that Congress:|
"... can write the laws they wish, but it's not going to affect what I preach
and how I preach it. However, I will also tell you I don't believe the way that I
preach the word of God that speaks against such sin makes people think I take
any joy in pointing any fingers at anyone." 10
|Rev. Daniel O'Connell, pastor of the Unitarian Universalist Eliot
Chapel in Kirkwood, MO, said:|
"It's true that very conservative Christians have an antipathy towards gays
and lesbians. [Fear of sermon persecution] begs credulity to my mind. I just
don't buy the argument that this is going to keep conservative pastors from
preaching whatever they want to preach."
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
Text etc. of the "Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act," GovTrack,
- Charlie Butts, "Christians on high alert over hate crimes passage,"
OneNewsNow, 2009-OCT-24, at:
- Adelle M. Banks, "Faith leaders divided over passage of hate crimes bill,"
The Pew Forum, 2009-OCT-23, at:
- "Congress extends hate crime protections to homosexuals," Associated
Press, 2009-OCT-23, at:
- Haris Tarin, "Senate finalizes hate crime legislation," MPAC News,
- Jennifer Riley, "Senate Passes Hate Crimes Bill; Obama Expected to Sign,"
Christian Post, 2009-OCT-23, at:
- "US Senate Passes Expanded Hate Crimes Legislation," Equality Maryland
EQMD E-News, 2009-OCT-23.
- "Baldwin breaks barrier, becomes first openly lesbian House member,"
CNN, 1998-NOV-03, at:
- Pam Spaulding, "Live: hate crimes bill signing -- reactions," Pam's House
Blend, 2009-OCT-29, at:
- Tim Townsend, "Conservative pastors believe new hate crime law restricts
freedom of preach," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2009-OCT-31, at:
Copyright © 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
First posted: 2009-AUG-23
Latest update: 2009-NOV-02
Author: B.A. Robinson