Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Mother's Cry for Justice Goes Unheard

Two years ago I worked as a debt collector in Greenville, SC. A mile from where I worked, Sean Kennedy was murdered for being gay. In the parking lot a night spot, Stephen Andrew Moller, riding in the backseat of a car, pulled up beside him. This young man called Sean a fagot and punched him so hard that it broke his facial bones. Sean fell to the ground, seperating his brain stem from his brain. Sean's murderer got back in the car and left him lying there. Later he was quoted as having said, "You tell your fagot friend that when he wakes up he owes me $500 for my broken hand." Moller was sentenced to a five year suspended sentence. He spent eight months in jail and then was rewared a two month break for getting his GED and for good behavior.

My heart has grieved for this tranvisty for two years. South Carolina has no hate crime laws. Without hate crime laws, the FBI cannot even track deaths like Sean's. Indeed, without hate crime legislation, Moller was able to plea bargin to involuntary man slaughter charges. All GLBT people are at risk, especially without hate crime legislation. According to PFLAG:
Most hate crimes are committed by “average people.” Perpetrators are typically not “psychos,” neo-nazis or skinheads, but are otherwise law-abiding people who disdain those who are different or fear those differences. Recent research suggests that anti-LGBT hate crime perpetrators perceive gay bashing to be socially sanctioned and therefore acceptable behavior.

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