Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01



Hate Crimes Legislation Passes House
by Bob Roehr

This article shared 3243 times since Wed May 9, 2007
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

The U.S. House of Representatives passed hate crimes legislation by a vote of 237 to 180 on May 3. The tally was largely along party lines, though the 212 Democratic votes were short of a majority in the 435-member chamber; Republican support was needed to achieve that.

The measure is officially known as the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007. It essentially adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of categories already covered as hate crimes and has broad support from national law enforcement, civic and civil-rights organizations.

It gives the Department of Justice limited authority to intervene when state and local officials do not seem to be adequately investigating hate crimes against gays. It also allows the Department to provide training, fund activities, and support local authorities in that area.

'I think it bears repeating that many law enforcement organizations … support the need for federal hate crimes prevention legislation,' said Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., during debate on the floor. 'Today, we have an opportunity to end discrimination and the violence that goes with it that equal a hate crime.'

Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., led a group of 25 Republicans who voted for the legislation, earning the thanks of Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director Patrick Sammon. Their presence allayed fears of some conservative Democrats that the issue might be used against them in the next campaign.

However, 14 Democrats voted against the bill and 6 did not vote at all. They generally came from a swatch of the interior of the country ranging from North Carolina to Oklahoma, Texas to Indiana.

Conservatives like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council have been braying that the legislation "criminalizes thoughts as well as actions; creating special categories of victims is unconstitutional.' He neglects to mention that existing law already covers a laundry lists of protected categories, including religion.

James Dobson of Focus on the Family has charged that the real purpose of the legislation is 'to muzzle people of faith who dare to express their moral and biblical concerns about homosexuality.'

Their staunch opposition prompted the White House press office to call the bill 'unnecessary and constitutionally questionable,' and threaten a presidential veto. It is difficult to gauge how serious that threat is, as the president has vetoed only two pieces of legislation during his tenure; one concerning stem-cell research, the second on withdrawal from Iraq.

The Senate version of the legislation, with Matthew Shepard's name appended to it, has 44 co-sponsors and is likely to pass before summer recess.

However, there does not appear to be sufficient support in either chamber to override a veto, should that occur.


Reactions to the House vote from within the LGBT community were positive.

Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese called it 'a historic day that moves all Americans closer to safety from the scourge of hate violence. Today, legislators sided with the 73 percent of the American people who support the expansion of hate crimes laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity.'

'I am encouraged that the House was able to overcome the lies and misinformation being spread by anti-gay organizations trying to derail this bill. As the parent of a young man killed simply for being gay, I refuse to be silent and let this bill be misconstrued by these organizations,' said Judy Shepard, mother of the late Matthew Shepard.

'No one can deny the reality of hate violence against LGBT people,' said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. 'The importance of this [ legislation ] cannot be overstated, particularly in light of the venomous defamation campaign that has been waged against the bill by right-wing forces. At long last, justice for our people is within reach.'

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality called it 'a clear statement that LGBT people are not too hated to be protected from hate crimes.'

National Stonewall Democrats executive director Jo Wyrick focused on the political future. "Once again, the majority of American oppose the position of the President, and that is why we are urging the Senate Leadership to quickly move on this important legislation. We need Senate Democrats to step up before President Bush can step down."

This article shared 3243 times since Wed May 9, 2007
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Gay News

More than half of American Indian, Alaskan Native LGBT adults in the U.S. have been attacked 2021-10-21
--From a Williams Institute press release - A new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds that the estimated 285,000 adults in the U.S. that identify as American Indian or Alaskan Native (AIAN) and LGBT report high rates of ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Foster-parent case, stars speak out, Texas youth, 'Queer Eye,' HIV 2021-10-17
- Americans United for Separation of Church and State and Lambda Legal, together with the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), along ...

Gay News

WORLD Plus magazine, The Guardian, Dutch princess, anti-trans ruling 2021-10-17
- The largest circulated HIV publication in the country, Plus, unveiled its 25 Amazing People of the Year, per a press release. Just a few of the individuals are actor Billy Porter; Mandisa Nikita Dukashe: South African ...

Gay News

Jury selection in Smollett trial starts Nov. 29 2021-10-15
- The Jussie Smollett saga continues. Almost three years since out actor Jussie Smollett (TV's Empire; the film Alien: Covenant) was allegedly attacked in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood, Cook County Judge James ...

Gay News

Attorneys general file pro-transgender brief 2021-10-15
- A coalition of 20 attorneys general, including Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and New York counterpart Letitia James, filed an amicus brief in the case of Soule v. Connecticut Association of Schools, opposing the plaintiffs' efforts ...

Gay News

Chicago Plumbing Code allows all-gender multiple occupancy restrooms 2021-10-15
--From a Community Restroom Access Project (CRAP) press release - CHICAGO — The Community Restroom Access Project (CRAP) applauds passage Thursday by the Chicago City Council of the plumbing code modernization ordinance that will allow businesses and building owners to ...

Gay News

Appeals court reinstates Texas abortion law 2021-10-09
- On Oct. 8, a federal appeals court put a temporary hold on a judge's order that had blocked Texas' six-week abortion ban, reported. Just two days earlier, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman issued an order ...

Gay News

Toni Preckwinkle addresses security incidents 2021-10-08
- Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle released a statement regarding two recent situations connected with her security detail. "In the past few months, there have been two separate incidents when members of my Executive Detail have ...

Gay News

Ex-NU professor found guilty of murdering boyfriend 2021-10-08
- On Oct. 7, Cook County jurors deliberated for less than two hours before finding former Northwestern University Wyndham Lathem guilty in the gruesome stabbing death of his boyfriend, The Chicago Tribune reported. Jurors heard about a ...

Gay News

Federal judge blocks strict Texas abortion law 2021-10-07
- On Oct. 6, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman issued an order blocking the state's six-week abortion ban, according to Texas Lawyer. Pitman, of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, granted the department's request for ...

Gay News

Equality Now's virtual global gala Oct. 12 2021-10-06
- Equality Now announced that its annual Make Equality Reality Gala will be held Tuesday, Oct. 12, at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT. Since 1992, Equality Now has worked to ensure that laws treat men and women ...

Gay News

New Supreme Court session: Religion dominates 2021-10-04
- First in the spotlight as the U.S. Supreme Court begins its new session Monday (October 4) is the seemingly precarious state of the right to abortion, an issue LGBT groups have long considered to be of ...

Gay News

Out state Sen. Mike Simmons aims to 'prioritize people' in economic, healthcare equity fight 2021-10-04
- Each week, Illinois state Sen. Mike Simmons' constituents pile into his office to share ideas about how to improve their lives. Through conversations with single mothers raising young children in poverty, residents facing displacement and teenagers ...

Gay News

SPORTS Women's soccer commissioner resigns in wake of scandal 2021-10-04
- National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) Commissioner Lisa Baird resigned after approximately 19 months on the job amid allegations that a former coach engaged in sexual harassment and misconduct, NPR reported. ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Black AIDS Institute, non-binary person attacked, Rachel Maddow 2021-10-03
- The board of directors of the Black AIDS Institute (BAI) announced the appointments of Toni Newman as its interim chief executive officer and Dr. Kemal M. Atkins as managing director, a press release noted. In addition, ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.