Good News on the Hate Crimes Bill
One of the bills that I was in Washington D.C. lobby for just passed the House of Representatives. The anti-hate crimes bill is a no brainer -- extending the federal protection against hate crimes to the glbt community. Of course, President Bush has threatened to veto it.
Gays, or people perceived to be gay, are one of the most targeted groups for hate crimes. Obviously, no matter what someone may think of someone else's orientation, even if they consider it a grave sin, that in no way gives anyone the right to assault, maim, or kill someone else!
The religious right has been trying to position themselves as the sole arbiter of morality. Various liberal and progressive spiritual movements have been to take up that claim and challenge it heartily. The Clergy Call to Justice was one such effort -- an effort that brought over 225 religious leaders from every major religion and a few smaller ones, and from every state in the union, together to say that as people of faith, we take seriously the commands to want for your brothers and sisters what you want for yourself. We take seriously the notion that all human beings are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that among them are the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Anyway, the hate crimes legislation is on its way to the Senate. I hope you will call your Senators and tell them to support this bill. It is known as the Matt Shepard Bill in honor of a young college student who was brutally murdered in Wyoming several years ago. (If you haven't heard of Matt, read his wikipedia
entry; it's heart breaking.)
I hope you will also ask them to support anti-workplace discrimination legislation that is due to come to the floor sometime in late summer. Again, this seems to me to be a no brainer. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with whether a person is a good employee or not. It's only other people's intolerance that make problems.