Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What sexual orientation means in the federal hate crimes law

A hat tip to Mr. Kleinheider for bringing everyone's attention to the TN GOP bureaucracy's response to the federal hate crimes bill recently passed by the House.

We'll leave aside the spurious issue of so-called "thought crime" that the press release raises. This blog has addressed that issue in the past. What I want to respond to is the argument that sexual orientation as used in hate crimes laws includes pedophilia. I say "argument." In fact, it is meant more as a dramatic image used to scare people from supporting the bill. Some Republicans, though not all, tried to amend the bill to say that it would not be construed to include pedophilia. There is no need to do that since the law was never intended to protect pedophilia.

It's sad that some are still trying to equate homosexuality and pedophilia.

H.R. 1913 assumes and explicitly references the law under which the FBI currently collects hate crimes statistics based on sexual orientation. Here's the definition in the FBI's authority to gather statistics on hate crimes based on sexual orientation:
As used in this section, the term `sexual
orientation' means consensual homosexuality or heterosexuality.

Hopefully we can move past these ridiculous scare tactics soon.

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