Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hate Crime Legislation has Passed at Last!

The headline reads: "Obama Signs Measure to Widen Hate Crimes Law." President Obama has signed a measure making it illegal to "assault people based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. Federal hate crimes protections already cover race, ethnicity and religion." About damn time. But what will it mean?

The article states "More than 77,000 hate-crime incidents were reported nationwide by the FBI between 1998 and 2007." The reason they say "more than" is because I live in a state that has no hate crime legislation. I live in a state where Sean Kennedy was murdered and his killer served less than two years. I live in a state where local Christians picket gays in front of the building where a pay my personal property taxes.
“After more than a decade of opposition and delay, we've passed inclusive hate crimes legislation to help protect our citizens from violence based on what they look like, who they love, how they pray, or who they are,” President Obama said before he signed the bill.
For the first time ever, states like South Carolina that have no hate crime legislation can prosecute hate crime. Moreover, the statistics can now be compiled to add to the national statistics. I strongly suspect a number of people will be shocked at the sudden spike in statistics when states like our begin reporting hate crime to the FBI.

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