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Hate crimes in the U.S.


Description of U.S. hate crimes
and associated legislation, from
all viewpoints

Sponsored link.

Scope of the 2009 federal hate crimes bill:

A hate crime is a crime of violence that is motivated by hatred of the group to which the victim belongs. Usually, the perpetrator and the victim are strangers to each other. For example, gay bashing involves a violent homophobe physically attacking a victim from the lesbian, gay, and bisexual community. Typically, the main goals are twofold:


To express hatred against a random member of that community, and


To terrorize the entire community of which the victim is a member.

Some people feel that these goals are very disruptive to society and deserve a lengthened sentence beyond what is given for an equivalent assault that was not motivated by hatred.

Many persons, often conservatives, feel that the perpetrator should be penalized only according to the injuries actually sustained by the victim.

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Opposition to the bill:

The main opposition to the hate crimes bill came from fundamentalist and other evangelical Christian individuals and groups. They focused on:

  • The definition of "sexual orientation." The bill's sponsors seem to have assumed that everyone agreed that there are three orientations: bisexuality, heterosexuality and homosexuality. Thus, they did not include a definition of "sexual orientation" in the bill. Some conservative groups exploited a weakness in the bill: they promoted the belief that there are not three sexual orientations; there are over 30. They added about 30 paraphilias -- sexual obsessions, some of which are criminal acts, to the three sexual orientations. They included prostitution, pedophilia, having sex with dead corpses, having sex with animals, sexual involvement with trees, etc.

  • Fear of restrictions on religious freedom: Many conservative groups interpreted the bill as a prohibiting hate speech as well as violent hate crimes. They predicted that pastors would be arrested for conspiracy if one of their sermons directing hatred against lesbians, gays, bisexuals etc. resulted in a physical attack by a member of the congregation. An amendment to the bill was added to counteract this interpretation.

    Over a year has passed and no hate speech charge has been laid under this law anywhere in the U.S. Such a charge could not be laid because of the freedom of speech provisions of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

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Status of the bill:

After a decade of struggle, an inclusive hate crimes bill was finally passed by the federal House and Senate on 2009-OCT-22. President Obama signed it into law on 2009-OCT-28.

It will help protect every person in the U.S. from being the victim of a hate crime in eight separate ways, on the basis of their:








National origin,


Gender, whether female, male or intersexual,




Sexual orientation, whether they be bisexual, homosexual, or heterosexual, and


Gender identity, whether they be transgender or cis-gendered

Topics in this section:

bullet Introduction:
bullet Confusion over hate crimes: what they are and what they are not
bullet Quotations; updating legislation; current status of bills
bullet Definitions; existing laws
bullet U.S. hate crime statistics

bullet Physical attacks motivated by religion or sexual orientation. Data accuracy
bullet Hate crime law arguments: pro & con. Civil rights concerns about these laws.
bullet Would hate crime laws inhibit free speech?
bullet Accusations that free speech is endangered
bullet Are these accusations reasonable?
bullet Including sexual orientation as a protected class

bulletAttempts to create hate crime law update -- finally successful in 2009:
bullet Years 1999 to 2005: Timeline of legislative activity
bullet In the federal Senate
bullet In the federal House
In various states

bullet Year 2007 effort: House hate-crimes bill H.R. 1592, (Did not become law):
bullet Proposed text; support; opposition
bullet Exactly who is protected/not protected by the bill?
bullet Quotations by social and religious conservatives
bullet Liberals and conservatives differ on H.R. 1592; who is right?
bullet Markup activity in the committee and vote in the House
bullet Year 2007 activity: Senate hate-crimes bill S 1105, (Did not become law):
bullet Proposed text. Bill passes senate, but fails.
bullet Support and opposition by religious groups
bulletYear 2009 activity: Hate-crimes bill << Finally passed
bullet Activity in the House; Bill H.R. 1913:
bullet A general overview of the House bill
bullet House committee activity. Fatal flaw in wording
bullet House passes bill. Support for bill
bullet Attacks on H.R. 1913 by religious & social conservatives:
bullet Reaction by religious and social conservatives
bullet Conservatives' specific concern over free speech 2009-APR
bullet Activity in the Senate; Bill S. 909:
bullet Senate passes bill. Religious hate speech has special protection
bullet Obama veto? Double Jeopardy concern. Media coverage
bullet More media coverage: how news sources mislead without lying
bullet Bill signed into law:
bullet Background. Bill becomes law. Positive reactions
bullet More positive reactions
bullet Deceptive and negative reactions
bullet More negative reactions. Author's comments
bullet California hate-crimes law (2004)

Reference used:

  1. Tony Perkins, "Flying the Co-op," Washington Update, 2009-SEP-15

Related topic:

bullet Canadian bill C-250 concerning hate propaganda

Site navigation:

 Home > "Hot" religious topics > Homosexuality > Laws> Hate > here

 Home > Religious laws > Homosexual laws> Hate > here

 Home page > Religious hatred & conflict > Laws > Hate > here

Copyright 1999 to 2018 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2018-OCT-31
Author: B.A. Robinson

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