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Anti-hate-crime and anti-hate speech laws

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Overview:

Hate-crime legislation increases a criminal's sentence if it can be proven that the crime of which they were found guilty was motivated by hatred of the victim because of their race, religion, sex, or some other factor that is specified in the law. Unless there is a crime like assault, aggravated assault, attempted murder, etc. hate-crime laws generally do not apply.

Hate speech legislation criminalizes the denigration, ridicule, or expression of hatred against a person or group on the basis of the victim's race, religion, etc.

These types of legislation do not offer any special protections to any specific group. They usually include religion and sex as protected classes. They generally protect Christians, Jews, Muslims, Wiccans, and others alike; they generally protect both men and women. Those laws which include sexual orientation as a protected class shield everyone equally, whether they be heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual.

Whenever such legislation is introduced, there is considerable opposition -- mainly from religious and social conservatives -- to the inclusion of sexual orientation as a protected class. Often overlooked is the fact that heterosexuals are protected as much as bisexuals and homosexuals by this type of legislation. Some conservatives often claim that the laws give special privileges to homosexuals, as in a comment by Rev. Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition:

"Under the cover of fighting so-called 'hate crimes,' H.R. 1592 will be used to fund anti-Christian, pro-homosexual/drag queen materials for children, and divert scarce federal resources away from fighting Islamic terrorism." 1

Topics covered in this section:

bullet Introduction to hate-crime legislation
 
bullet Hate-crime legislation in the U.S. covering violent crimes motivated by hatred of the victim's race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, gender identity, disability, or nationality
 
bullet Adding sexual orientation as a protected class to hate-crime legislation
 
bullet Hate-speech laws in the U.S., Canada and other countries

References used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay.

  1. Rev. Lou Sheldon, "Pro-homosexual/drag queen bill on fast track in House of Representatives," TVC-national newsletter, 2007-APR-12.

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Copyright 2004 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2004-AUG-12
Latest update: 2011-JUN-19
Author: B.A. Robinson

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