Be John McCain (R-AZ). That wretched troll is currently on record as opposing the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act that the House passed 249-175 back in April, calling it “highly controversial.” I suppose he’d like to reserve the right to bash some queers?
The bill, named in honor of the young Wyoming man targeted for his sexuality, beaten, an left to die in 1998 (11 years ago!), was introduced by Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Harry Reid (D-NV). It would add gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability to the current categories of race, color, religion, and national origin. Unsurprisingly, the Republicans are freaking out about “thought police” (wrong) and “every crime is a hate crime!” (double wrong). They’re also going nutty over the stipulation that gives the federal government the right to prosecute hate crimes that local and/or state governments will not. OMG SOSHULISZM.
In an attempt to get this legislation through, Dems are trying to tie the act to a big defense spending bill already on the floor (this strategy always bugs me, not least because it means it will have to go back to the House), although there is some internal dissent over the move. I’ll be keeping an eye on this story, since it has important ramifications for women and our LGBTQ and disabled sisters and brothers.