Hate Crimes Bill Passes Out Of Committee, Wingnuts Pass Out With Fright

We're finally making progress on passing a federal hate-crimes bill: On Thursday, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Protection Act passed out of t

We're finally making progress on passing a federal hate-crimes bill: On Thursday, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Protection Act passed out of the House Judiciary Committee.

Sure enough, as Kyle at RightWingWatch predicted, the right-wing freakout has begun. Unsurprisingly, Glenn Beck is already leading the way.

He invited on wingnut talk-show host Sandi Rios, who promptly declared hate crimes "thought crimes" (uh-huh, right). She also attacked Debbie Wasserman-Schulz, who was defending the bill from Republican attempts to nullify it by adding categories or victims by claiming:

Rios: Well, she's saying that anybody that's killed or harmed is not a real victim -- unless they're homosexual or gay or Jewish. Then they're real victims. So you can murder more severely if they happen to homosexual or Jewish. It makes no sense.

Beck: Whatever happened to equal protection under the law? If you kill someone, you should go to jail!

Well, as I've explained previously, hate-crimes laws in fact do offer equal protection under the law:

This ... is precisely how the laws work: they are intended to protect everyone equally from these kinds of crimes. Everyone, after all, has religious beliefs of one kind or another; we all have a race, a gender, an ethnicity, a sexual orientation. A quick look at the FBI's annual bias-crime statistics bears this out; anti-white bias crimes are the second-largest category of racial crimes, and anti-Christian crimes constitute the second-largest in the religion category. If the laws were written as McGough suggests, they couldn't possibly pass the Constitution's equal-protection muster; yet these laws have.

Bias-crime laws aren't about "special categories" of victims; in fact, the victim's actual ethnic or sexual status is of secondary importance -- what matters is the motivation of the perpetrator. This is why a gay-bashing assault against a person mistaken for being gay is still a bias crime.

As for why this law is important to pass, read more here.

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