Tuesday, October 20, 2009

In Which I Interrupt the Previous Post for Human Rights

hate crimes, homosexual, matthew shepard

From the Human Rights Campaign:

Last Thursday, 49-year-old Jack Price, an openly gay man, was attacked right outside of his home by two individuals yelling anti-gay slurs. Price suffered a broken jaw, fractured ribs, collapsed lungs, a lacerated spleen, and had to be placed in a medically induced coma.

This brutal hate crime, caught on a surveillance video, comes just as the Senate prepares to cast the final vote on the inclusive hate crimes bill. We can't afford to wait a single day more for this law.

Tell your Senators to watch the video before they cast their vote on the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

Homosexuals deserve the same protection under the law as the religious- who already enjoy hate crime protections. This incident makes that abundantly clear, as if the Matthew Shepard incident didn't already do so.

[the following video is graphic and disturbing.]


I just received the following email from the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission:

The Defense Authorization Act of 2010 will be up for a vote this week. But instead of focusing on the much needed support for our troops, sneaky Senators have decided to attach to this bill an amendment that has nothing to do with our national defense.

A pro-homosexual, hate crimes amendment was added during the summer to this bill. It threatens the first amendment rights of all Christians.

Senator Brownback, of Kansas, added an amendment to this hate crimes bill that would help protect freedom of speech for pastors. But even that amendment, although passed, was tampered with this week.

. . .

We need your help. Hate crimes legislation threatens your very ability to exercise your First Amendment rights. Click here to read more about this bill.

These people are disgusting. Beating a gay man half to death because he is gay is not a right guaranteed by the First Amendment.


  1. This was so awful. Call me incredibly naive (despite the moniker) but when this made the news, I was so disgusted that something like this could happen in New York in 2009. Horrific.

  2. We think of NYC as a bastion of tolerance and acceptance, but . . .

    Hubby goes into a bar with a black friend from college. Neither hubby nor friend had been in the bar before. The friend gets up to go the bathroom, and is asked to settle his bill up to that point before he goes. Well, okay.

    Hubby gets up to go to the bathroom, pulls out money to pay, and is told "Don't worry about it, you're not like him."

    I suppose the owner of the bar could have meant that hubby looked wealthier than his friend, but I kinda doubt it. (Hubby tends to imitate the homeless when selecting clothing.)

  3. I'm not sure I want to watch that video.

    A gay guy was recently run over (deliberately) in Toronto - another, supposedly, 'tolerant' city - and there's been a few other disturbing incidents of late; I just don't know if I have the stomach for another one.

    I probably will watch it later though. Morbid curiosity's a bitch.

    PF, has there been any further reporting on that Al Franken 'the government shouldn't fund companies who protect rapists' bill? I saw a piece on the Daily Show about it but I'm not in the US and I don't have a TV so I don't know how widely it has been discussed.

    Have the 30 Republicans been roasted for it yet or what?


  4. Ok, I watched it and now I feel like I want to kill someone (at least 2 someones, actually). Fucking PEOPLE!

  5. Nobody cares, ExPattMatt, nobody cares.

    /back on topic

    I really think the viciousness of the gay marriage debate is causing these horrific incidents in traditionally tolerant areas.

    I mean, listen to the rhetoric from NOM, FOF and all the rest: gays are pedophiles, homosexuality is like bestiality and necrophilia, if you allow gay marriage, your children will be shown gay porn in kindergarten- it's not surprising people are beating gays half to death or hitting them with cars, it's surprising this isn't happening more often.

  6. Why 'pro-homosexual'? It's designed to protect anyone (including religion, I believe) who is targeted due to being a perceived minority/demographic, right?

    What is their problem with this?

  7. Let's not pretend hate crimes legislation is going to make the slightest difference or "protect" anyone. People who commit this sort of crime should already be harshly punished. This is typical feel-good legislation.

    There are all sorts of arguments against hate crime legislation in general if you care to look, including from libertarians who are almost all extremely pro gay rights. See this article for example. And there is definitely a free speech issue involved. Attempted murder is already a crime. Having disgusting, bigoted views is protected. We prosecute people for their actions, not for their thoughts.

  8. A concern I have about the hate crimes bill is that anything done to an LGBT might fall under it even if the crime was in no way related to the victim's lifestyle.

  9. UNRR,

    It's not quite that simple, at least not mechanically (but perhaps politically). Mechanically, "hate crime" legislation functions to limit a judge's ability to be lenient in cases of violent crimes apparently committed for reasons of bigotry. This is simply an extension of the so called "Class-X" felonies like felony murder and large-scale drug posession. It also serves the crucial purpose of preventing the defense from using the sources/reasons/excuses/whatever for the defendant's bigotry as a mitigating element in the case (as presenting such a defense constitutes an admission of a "hate crime").

    The idea that criminal law can be applied in any objective sense is just that: an idea. If you spend any time talking with people who actually function within the system, they will tell you that human factors dictate everything. You have a human comitting a crime for any number of reasons (or no reason at all), being judged by 12 other humans (often selected by the human defense and the human prosecution for their stupidity), and being sentenced by a human judge. The only way to exercise any control of these humans is through seemingly goofy, but arguably necessary litigation.

    That's just the way it is when you get past the Libertarian fantasies.

  10. big a's got a point. right now, you can submit "gay panic" as a defense to the above brutality, essentially stating that seeing a gay man made an insecure hetero-but-not-sure man panic, his panic turned outward, and he tried to kill said gay man.

    you might think that's a stupid defense, but all you need is one juror who freaks at the thought of sharing a locker room with a homosexual, and a mistrial ensues.

    at the very least, hate crime legislation prevents defendants from using their own bigotry as a defense for terrorism. (yes, hate crimes are the very definition of terrorism.)

  11. "Why 'pro-homosexual'? It's designed to protect anyone (including religion, I believe) who is targeted due to being a perceived minority/demographic, right?"

    Yes, calling it "pro-homosexual" is inaccurate. The issue isn't whether someone is a member of a minority group, it's whether someone was attacked for belonging to a specific group. For instance, adding "sexual orientation" as a protected class would protect heterosexuals, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and ANY person who has been attacked because of their sexual orientation.

  12. Sorry, I came in on another post, but this one caught my attention. (As I really like your blog, I'll be submitting a comment in the blog that linked me here after this.)

    I also find myself a bit naive that hate crimes of this nature still happen today. Bill Maher has made the point a few times on previous shows that 65% of Christians are for gay marriage. Not I don't know where he got that fact (I personally don't trust studies as they always find the favorable results to those paying for them), but is the other 35% REALLY this against it? So much so that it's worth hurting another human being?

    This mentality reminds me of when Howard Stern used to have Daniel Carver (a KKK whack packer) on for bits, and he'd say he had no problem with Robin (Stern's black news woman), and that he liked her as much as any other animal, be it dog, monkey, ape, etc.

    I guess I liked to think that this way of thinking was on it's way out.

  13. "I guess I liked to think that this way of thinking was on it's way out."

    It is on it's way out which is why you see people finding it disgusting and angered by the fact that this is happening.

    That said, it's never actually going to stop. People will always find ways and reasons to discriminate against each other. Until only one person is left alive, it's unlikely that discrimination will ever end. But on the plus side, the world (typically) is slowly becoming more tolerant.

  14. UNRR, you seem to be in favor of prosecuting terrorists, from what I can see from your blog. Why, then, don't you care about prosecuting terrorists when their victims are gay or trans?

  15. It is terrible what happened to Mr. Price. But is it worse than if a heterosexual man got so beaten for his Rolex? If it happened to me, I would be furious to be told that it was not a "hate crime." Would it be a "love crime"? What is the opposite of a "hate crime" anyway--just a normal crime.

    So if I punch a gay man for insulting me (which I wouldn't do) it's a hate crime? But if I punch a hetero man for insulting me, it isn't? It just doesn't make sense.

    What happend to Mr. Price is already a crime, and the offenders should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Calling it a special kind of crime is not necessary.

    In other words, what happened to Mr. Price is not bad because he is gay; it's bad simply becuase he is a human being.

  16. Renaissance Guy, beating someone to take his Rolex does not send a terroristic message to the Rolex-wearing community. Nor is "I did it to take his Rolex" currently accepted as a defense rather than an exacerbating factor.

    If you punch a gay man for insulting you because you regularly punch people who insult you, you should be fine except for the assault charge. If you punch him because he is gay, it is a hate crime because it tells other gay people that they cannot live a public life without the fear that you or someone like you will punch them.

    Re: opposite - it's hate crime vs. lack of hate crime. AFAIK it's a charge to top assault, not to replace it.

  17. broken record. hate crimes legislation is already in place. why is there a need to add more? Ugh.

  18. NayLahKnee LahKnee, I don't know if you are actually that unaware or if you just don't care about people who are different from you, but I'll answer you: because current hate crime legislation does not protect people who are attacked because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Indeed, murderers and defense attorneys have used the victim's sexual orientation or gender identity to try to mitigate the sentence.


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