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« ACOG Goes Glum Over Gonzales | Main | Discrimination or Celebration? »

May 03, 2007

Comments

(Typo in title.)

This entire thing is so disturbing. What's more disturbing is that I didn't even know about this bill!

No time to get into this in detail right now, but I will say this. There is no question in my mind that there will soon come a time when we will be seeing people like my pastor hauled off to jail for daring to say anything other than that the homosexual lifestyle is to be completely accepted.

"...a straight, white male," Melinda?!? :)

Maybe the blockquote got put in the wrong place...

If one only read the press release instead of going to original sources and actually reading the bill (what a concept, actually going beyond what some PR flack spun out), one would get the impression that only gay folk were in the proposed legislation. However once one has read the actual legislation, it becomes clear were some person or group to target a "straight, white male" they would be guilty of a hate crime under this bill. Please note that Christians are also a protected class under this law.

Look, I understand that some people are opposed to hate crimes legislation as a matter of principle and that's fine. However when an organization singles out one part of a bill and makes it sound as if it is the whole of a bill then we are entitled to make certain assumptions about that organization. Would somebody please tell me why you would take at face value anything that Concerned Women for America puts out in the future?

It used to be that looking up the actual wording of legislation was difficult and inconvenient. Not anymore. With the internet there is no excuse for anyone blindly passing on propaganda without checking things out.

Actual language from H.R.1592 Sec. 7:

"(1) OFFENSES INVOLVING ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, OR NATIONAL ORIGIN- Whoever, whether or not acting under color of law, willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, or an explosive or incendiary device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin of any person--"

"(A) IN GENERAL- Whoever, whether or not acting under color of law, in any circumstance described in subparagraph (B), willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, or an explosive or incendiary device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability of any person--

BTW, the linked press release from CCA has the following line:

"This 'hate crimes' bill would overturn this balance, creating second-class victims and a federal justice system that discriminates against grandmothers, children, women and men simply because they are heterosexual."

Based on the actual bill's language this is simply a lie. Like i said, why would anyone believe CCA again?

Why are people wasting time and money to pass legislation to protect people from crime when laws are already in place to do that? Wouldn't that money and time be better spent on the enforcment of the laws that are already on the books? It just sounds like they are trying to turn the legal profession into a welfare organization where money is handed out like candy to those in the profession. It is just like General Motors and other automobile manufacturers used to be...welfare companies...where you , as an employee, weren't expected to contribute, but got payed really well for reading paperbacks in the mensroom. Is that what they are trying to do to the legal profession?

Alan,

The reason this is getting hype is because of what has happened in other countries with similar legislation where people religious liberties were taken away because of simple speech that was perceived by the offended group as "hateful". I give you the following transcript from the House Judiciary committee regarding the possible effect of this vis a vis someone preaching against homosexuality:

Mr. Gohmert (R-TX): If a minister preaches that sexual relations outside of marriage of a man and woman is wrong, and somebody within that congregation goes out and does an act of violence, and that person says that that minister counseled or induced him through the sermon to commit that act, are you saying under your amendment that in no way could that ever be introduced against the minister?

Mr Davis (D-AL): No.

Page 206 here: http://judiciary.house.gov/media/pdfs/transcripts/transcript070425.pdf

Hi Robert, I have no problem with a general discussion of hate crimes law or an honest discussion of the Bill. My very focused objection was to a deeply flawed press release and a failure to actually read the bill before passing on misinformation.

As to your point, I'm not sure that the fact that something is in a sermon should automatically exempt it. If am Imam were to preach that anyone who blew up a mall was a true follower of the prophet and an attendee went out and blew up the Mall of America would your opinion be the same?

BTW, the bill passed the House.

http://www.bilerico.com/2007/05/002980.php

Hat tip to Andrew sullivan.

Alan,
I am not sure your examples are parallel. In the first instance, the preacher preached that a certain behavior was wrong. After which, a hearer of the sermon took violent action which was not advocated explicitly by the preacher. In the Imam example you offered, the Imam explicitly condoned the violent behavior. Those are 2 very different scenarios. I believe the distinction is important so that we might not, through equivocation, make moral preaching appear as terrorism. Preaching against homosexuality is in no way equal to advocating the killing of innocent mallgoers.

Hi Gregory, I understand the difference, i was just pushing it a little. The matter of incitement could become an issue of fact. I was wondering if Robert thought a sermon qua sermon was automatically out of bounds.

Alan,

I wanted to respond to the earlier posting where you ask, "Why would anyone believe CWA again?". I take it that your main contention is that a misinformation put out by an organization "entitles" one to make certain assumptions about it. Granted, we can make assumptions, but it is false to disregard an organization on the basis of one mis-representation. Should we fault all Arabs or Muslims for the claims of some (mind you there was a whole convention in Iran) that the Holacaust never occurred? Or should we say that Bill Clinton lying on the witness stand means that everything he ever said or is going to say is a lie? I don't see how we can come to such a conclusion.

Every law is subject to judicial interpretation and that is likely where much of the concern lies.

That being said what does this bill cover that isn't presently addressed by current laws other than opening the door for federal law enforcement involvement in local situations?

This is simple Dylan, trust no one, suspect everyone. P R. flacks are basically paid to lie. This doesn't mean everything is a lie, but one should always verify things of this nature. If someone is asking you to take an action on a proposed law - read the law; this isn't brain surgury. The press release was deceptive and had at least one outright lie. Its underlying theme was homophobic. I have no opinion as to the law - I don't have time to analyze it - but why would I trust anything on its face that came out of the CWA shop?

"trust no one, suspect everyone"
does this include those who wrote the legislation

"P R. flacks are basically paid to lie"
how did you come to this conclusion?

"The press release was deceptive and had at least one outright lie"
how did you come to this conclusion?

"Its underlying theme was homophobic"
how did you come to this conclusion?

"I have no opinion as to the law - I don't have time to analyze it"
so you have time to read the law and make several posts about it on this site but you don't have time to analize it?

Alan,

I recognise the argument you are making and it makes sense. But the case I gave was specific for a reason. There is no incitement to violence there, and yet one of the sponsors of the bill directly states that the speaker, who should be protected by the 1st amendment in this case, can specifically be held liable. Now, this could effect what it is that people say in their exercise of their religious beliefs. It has happened in Sweden, Canada and Australia. While they do not have "1st Amendment" protections in those countries, I don't know that the general tenor of society as it is in the US right now would not advocate that in cases like this that the 1st Amendment must be submissive to Hate Crime legislation.

"trust no one, suspect everyone"
does this include those who wrote the legislation

Of course.

"P R. flacks are basically paid to lie"
how did you come to this conclusion?

Life experience.

"The press release was deceptive and had at least one outright lie"
how did you come to this conclusion?

Read the bill, read the news release.

"Its underlying theme was homophobic"
how did you come to this conclusion?

1. The bill covers quite a few classes yet gays and trans-gender folk were singled out.

2. What does the orientation of the grandmother' murderer have to do with anything?

"I have no opinion as to the law - I don't have time to analyze it"
so you have time to read the law and make several posts about it on this site but you don't have time to analize it?

A quick read was sufficient to see the phony hype in the press release by CWA. A decision as to the propriety of the bill itself would require more work. The devil is often in the details.

Hi Robert, I see your point and wondered what the Davis amendment said. here it is:

"Nothing in this act or the amendments made by this act shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by or any activities protected by the free speech or free exercise clauses of the First Amendment to the Constitution."

It passed; the Pence amendment was appairently judged redundant and failed.

I would have liked to see this clarified. We are only seeing a snapshot here and those on the committee may be legitimately assuming something that that section doesn't make clear to folks just dropping in. I'm not sure we have enough information here as Brandenberg vs. Ohio and rules of evidence are also mentioned.

"trust no one, suspect everyone"
does this include those who wrote the legislation

Of course.

Good - I only asked because it didn't seem that you were questioning their motives.

"P R. flacks are basically paid to lie"
how did you come to this conclusion?

Life experience.

What if my life experience is different? How do we know who is right?

"The press release was deceptive and had at least one outright lie"
how did you come to this conclusion?

Read the bill, read the news release.

You didn't answer my question.

"Its underlying theme was homophobic"
how did you come to this conclusion?

1. The bill covers quite a few classes yet gays and trans-gender folk were singled out.

In what way does that make it homophobic? Please define homophobic.

2. What does the orientation of the grandmother' murderer have to do with anything?

In what way does that make it homophobic? Please define homophobic.

"I have no opinion as to the law - I don't have time to analyze it"
so you have time to read the law and make several posts about it on this site but you don't have time to analize it?

A quick read was sufficient to see the phony hype in the press release by CWA. A decision as to the propriety of the bill itself would require more work. The devil is often in the details.

Seems to me that you are not really motivated here - perhaps because you perceive that this bill will damage those you disagree with polically.

Alan -
I've read all the information you've mentioned. I am failing to see what this lie was that the CWA has made. Hate is an emotion and emotions can't be controlled by legislation. What can be controlled is the actions that result from that hate. There are already laws in place to cover assaults and crimes against people in general. This covers everyone. Therefore this bill is redundant. Yet here it is singling out homosexuals for special treatment. Why should they have a separate category when as I said, the laws already in place cover everyone? They are no worse and no better than any other person.

And yet anyone who holds my position is seen as 'hateful'. (Look at some sample headlines regarding this issue.) This is nonsense. It is simply an attempt to intimidate those people who do not agree with the homosexual lifestyle. Because we do not want to create a special category just for them, we are painted as approving of (actual) crimes done against them. This is misleading.

Hi Mo, please read this stuff. here it is again.

"This 'hate crimes' bill would overturn this balance, creating second-class victims and a federal justice system that discriminates against grandmothers, children, women and men simply because they are heterosexual."

Here is the wording in the bill:

"...attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability of any person--"

Mo, it says "sexual orientation", last I heard "heterosexual" was an orientation.
Hence, the press release isn't telling the truth. Is it clear now?

Hi John, golly dude, cut me some slack. I can't do everything. Seriously, our friend Robert posted the link to 300 odd pages of committee testimony. To really look at a bill like this you would want to look over sub-committee and committee testimony and hearings and talk with some people who have a handle on First Amendment issues.

Marty Lederman has some comments over at Balkin's blog:

http://balkin.blogspot.com/2007/05/new-hate-crimes-act-is-constitutional.html

(copy to this line to link)

This bill brings nothing to the table that isn't already covered by what is on the books.

"...attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability of any person--"

The wording after person is the scary part. Why and enumeration of different groups? Whose perception? The alleged attacker? The alleged victim? So we now delve into what was the motiviation, what were they thinking? And it really doesn't matter what a legislator's original intent is or was. If the thing becomes law, a progressive judge can march it in any direction regardless of what the original intent was supposed to be.

I'm pretty new here, and so it takes some time to get to know people. But Alan, you come across as condescending, and I am tired of dealing with it. My apologies if I am wrong, because I could be. (Online interactions are often difficult to 'read'.)

Hi Mo, sorry if I offended, I can be impatient. I thought I was clear on my first post but I sometimes compress things too much.

Hi John, I would urge you to check out both Volokh and Balkin (they cross link) and read the posts and links therein. This is sort of a horse's mouth sort of thing as it turns out that Lederman worked on this when he was at DOJ a few years ago.

High quality legal blogs are one of the blessings of the internets.

Questions:

Should the practices of people be as protected as their innate or immutable qualities?

Is homosexuality a practice?

Is heterosexuality a practice?

Is religion a practice?

Has United States law ever outlawed practices sexual, religious, or otherwise?

How have laws outlawing practices sexual and/or religious been justified in the past?

Is it healthy or conducive to court proceedings and society to have to hear arguments on why a crime may or may not be labeled a "hate crime?"

Are people generally accepting of prosecutors "playing the race card?"

In the State of Victoria in Australia we have a hate crimes law called the Racial and Religious Vilification Bill.In practical terms so far all the cases have been brought against Christians.There has been a loss of freedom of speech and one highly publicised case against two pastors brought by Muslims,the pastors were not allowed by the court to use the truth of what happened in their defence as it was deemed that they could be further vilifying the other side.Other Western countries bring in similiar legislation at their peril.It shuld be noted that no other State in Australia has brought in similiar legislation after witnessing the trouble it has caused in Victoria.It almost goes without saying that it is a Left wing State government.

Hi Murray, that is why I'm glad we have the First Amendment with a solid body of law around it. BTW, folks this cuts both ways. I found this gem, hardly left wing:

"Mrs Francis claims T-shirts bearing the words "Mr Abbott, keep your rosaries off my ovaries" vilify Catholics and incite violence."

https://www.melbourne.anglican.com.au/main.php?pg=blogs&topic_id=1609

The law is disgusting and would never pass muster in the United states.

"8. Religious vilification unlawful
(1) A person must not, on the ground of the religious
belief or activity of another person or class of
persons, engage in conduct that incites hatred
20 against, serious contempt for, or revulsion or
severe ridicule of, that other person or class of
persons.
Note: "engage in conduct" includes use of the internet or e-mail
to publish or transmit statements or other material."

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/bill/rartb2001275/

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