As reported by the Associated Press and OneNewsNow.com
WASHINGTON- People attacked because of their sexual orientation or gender would receive federal protections under a Senate-approved measure that significantly expands the reach of "hate crimes" law. The Senate bill also would make it easier for federal prosecutors to step in when state or local authorities are unable or unwilling to pursue those acts deemed to be hate crimes.
Senate Democrats insist the hate-crimes amendment (S. 909) they attached to the defense appropriations bill won't criminalize preaching or speaking out against homosexuality.
Washington Sen. Patty Murray suggested the measure could actually protect people of faith by boosting penalties for hate crimes motivated by anti-religious bias. "Burning down a building is a crime -- but that crime takes on a new character when that building is a church or a synagogue or a mosque," she stated. "It's wrong when one person attacks another person on the street, for sure; but it has a different meaning when violence occurs because a victim is a different race or religion or sexual orientation."
But Sen. Jim DeMint said that since opposition to homosexuality is "a biblical concept," the measure could "serve as a warning to people not to speak out too loudly about their religious views lest the federal law enforcement come knocking at their door." The South Carolina Republican asked, "Can priests, pastors, rabbis be sure that their preaching will not be prosecuted? (Click button to the left to view an 11-minute video of Sen. DeMint speaking against S. 909)
Michigan Democrat Carl Levin responded that only biased acts of violence, and not speech, would be prosecuted as hate crimes.
Thursday night in the Senate
"The Senate made a strong statement this evening that hate crimes have no place in America," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said after the chamber voted Thursday to attach the legislation as an amendment to a $680 billion defense spending bill expected to be completed next week.The House in April approved a similar bill and President Barack Obama has urged Congress to send him hate crimes legislation, presenting the best scenario for the measure to become law since Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., first introduced it more than a decade ago.Republicans will have the opportunity to propose several more changes to the hate crimes bill on Monday, but that will not change its status as part of the must-pass defense bill.Passage of the bill would effect the most significant extension of hate crimes law since Congress first acted in 1968 after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.The 1968 law defines hate crimes as those carried out on the basis of race, color, religion or national origin. It also limits federal involvement to when the victim is engaged in a narrow range of activities, including attending a public school, serving as a juror or participating in an event administered by a state or local government.The proposed legislation expands federal hate crimes to include those perpetrated against people because of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. It also removes restrictions on federally protected activities."There is no room in our society for these acts of prejudice," said Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore. "Hate crimes fragment and isolate our communities. They tear at our collective spirit."Some 45 states have hate crime statutes, and investigations and prosecutions would remain mainly in state and local hands. But the bill provides federal grants to help state and local officials with the costs of prosecuting hate crimes and funds programs to combat hate crimes committed by juveniles. The federal government can step in after the Justice Department certifies that a state does not have jurisdiction or is unable to carry out justice.Joe Solmonese, president of Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest homosexual-rights group, said it "will provide police and sheriff's departments with the tools and resources they need to ensure that entire communities are not terrorized by hate violence.
"The Senate approved the measure by voice vote after a 63-28 procedural vote was needed to allow its consideration as part of the defense bill. The 28 no votes were all Republicans. Five Republicans voted for it, giving supporters the 60 votes they needed. (See the roll call vote)Opponents of the bill, including conservative religious groups, argued that it infringes on states' rights and could intimidate free speech. "The bill could potentially imperil the free speech rights of Christians who choose to speak out against homosexuality -- which could even be extended to preaching against it," The Christian Coalition of America said in a statement.
Supporters countered that prosecutions under the bill can occur only when bodily injury is involved, and no minister or protester could be targeted for expressing opposition to homosexuality, even if their statements are followed by another person committing a violent action. To emphasize the point, the Senate passed provisions restating that the bill does not prohibit constitutionally protected speech and that free speech is guaranteed unless it is intended to plan or prepare for an act of violence.
However, on a side note, even though this may be what the "provisions" may say, it will not prevent the left wing, Marxist government to target those with Christian evangelism or those that are White Nationalists because they speak out against the perverted and gross life style of the sodomites. But as that maybe, we still have a duty as White Nationalists Christians to speak out against the wrongs that the politicians are forcing on our people, and the destruction of our faith.