Monday, August 27, 2007

Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 (aka: Matthew Shepard Bill)

apparently some internet bloggers think that it is acceptable to minimize the brutal murder of a gay man. (ie-on some "marriage protecting" blog, in response to me telling someone to Google "Matthew Shepard," some guy wrote "well, did he die because he was gay or because he was a meth-head?" with the link to some obscure internet reference. because i responded very negatively to that remark, my comment was deleted, while the other guy's hateful comment was left up.) in light of that, i was inspired to do some research on Matthew Shepard. just to see what good--because i know that some did--came out of his murder. most of those positives are thanks to his mother, Judy Shepard, and the millions of people who are capable of sympathy, empathy, and recognition that threats to GLBT people are very real.

i had the amazing opportunity to listen to Judy Shepard speak, to a standing-room only crowd at my conservative college twice. i don't think anyone who left the room had dry eyes. or would have made the disparaging remarks that the thoughtless blogger above made.

anyway, kudos to Senator Gordon H. Smith (R-Oregon) for being one of the few Republicans (along with Arlen Spector, R-PA; Olympia Snowe, R-ME; and Susan Collins, R-ME) for co-sponsoring the Senate Bill 1105, on April 12, 2007 known as the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007. the Bill is sponsored by Edward Kennedy (D-MA).

in a speech the day it was introduced, Smith stated: “A principal responsibility of government is to protect and defend its citizens and to come to the aid of the mistreated. As a nation founded on the ideals of tolerance and justice, we simply cannot accept violence that is motivated by bias and hate,” Smith said. “Current law is limited. Our proposal would change that, and change it permanently. As a tribute to Matthew and in recognition of the tireless effort of his mother Judy, this legislation will be known as the “Matthew Shepard Bill.”

this bill is supported by a broad coalition of over 210 religious, law enforcement, and civil rights groups. not only does the Matthew Shepard Bill expand the definition of hate-crimes to include sexual orientation, it also includes gender and disability.

so far, it looks like (from my laywoman legislative research) this Bill is in Committee.

However, it's sister HR Bill 1592 has been passed in the House (5/3/07) and will next be voted on in the Senate. neat.

for more information and arguments in favor of this Bill: http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/2007/08/19/breaking-down-myths-of-the-matthew-shepard-bill/

i would post a link to arguments not in favor of the Bill, but any fool who knows how to Google can do it himself or herself.

i'll be watching the media for any more news on this Bill.

*a side note, in my searching, i also noticed that Senator Smith sponsored a Bill to provide ADAP (AIDS Drug Assistance Programs) funding from alternative sources. all of this from a Republican. :-)

29 comments:

Marty said...

You still haven't answered the question:

Matt Shephards killers are serving life in prison -- what more "protection" could a hate-crime law have offered him?

Marty said...

And just a point of clarification for your readers:

"...some guy wrote "well, did he die because he was gay or because he was a meth-head?" with the link to some obscure internet reference." is not accurate. Nor did I ever "insinuate" that he deserved to die for either reason -- but understand why you might want to portray my comment in a false light.

The actual quote was this: "Also, the question is still open -- was he killed for being gay? Or for being a meth-head? "

And the "obscure internet reference" was to Google, using the terms matthew+shepard+meth -- which, among others, returns results for both ABC news (the question was featured on 20/20) and Harvard university in the top five.

What's up with all the dishonesty?

Rachel said...

Wow Marty,
You’re just not that smart. The law is not only to punish the convicted, but to deter those contemplating the offence (e.g. the DUI. Many decide not to drive under the influence, not for their safety, but out of fear of the LAW and its heavy-hand on those convicted of DUI)

Jane Know said...

marty,
the entire tone of everything you write is homophobic. so before you accuse me of "dishonesty" look within yourself. you just claimed that because i am lesbian, i hate men. when have i ever said that?

what? are you going to take some out of context quote i said?

the better question to ask, is marty, what's up with your hatred of gays and lesbians? and what are you so scared of?

Marty said...

Again, blatant and obvious dishonesty from Jane:

"you just claimed that because i am lesbian, i hate men."

What I wrote was:

"You however are merely biased against anyone born with a penis -- they will never be worthy of your love -- because of that darned penis."

Not that you hate men -- only that you cannot love a man. And why? Because he's a man.

Is the male sex organ really such a problem for you? Or is there something else about us that makes us impossible to love?

--

Rachel, obviously the threat of the death penalty, or life imprisonment, was not enough determent for M.Shepard's killers -- what makes you think a "death penalty special plus plus" would have?

Rachel said...

So, since some people won’t fear the punishment, just don’t pass the law? Good idea. You’re a simple man, aren’t you? Fist of all, lesbians DO love men. Fathers, brothers, uncles, friends, sons, etc…but they are not IN-love with men. How about this, I’ll find a friendly little lesbian to explain to you why she is not IN-love with a man if you tell me why YOU are not IN-love with a man. I’m guessing it’ll have something to do with some silly little biological something or other in your brain…hmmm, funny how that only works for you. Also, I know MANY, MANY lesbians who have had and currently DO have sex with men. Their penis is just fine. In fact many lesbians (and heterosexual woman) use inanimate penis-like object to sexually pleasure them. It’s probably some trivial bullshit like emotional connection or some crap that makes lesbians chose other women. Poor, poor Marty. You feel all that you have to offer a woman is your penis. How’s that working for you?

Fannie said...

Everybody step right up to see MAAAAAAR-TY the Mind-Reader! Able to read the mind and detect hatred of men and those born with penises (penii?)!

STEP RIGHT UP for MAAAAAAR-TY!!!


Hate crime laws will deter some people from committing crimes based on hatred of someone's gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. And, if such a law deters a homobigot from murdering or attacking even 1 gay person than it's worth it.

You do understand the concept of criminal legislation enacted for the purpose of deterring crime, don't you?


And, unless you are someone who would commit a hate crimes, I fail to see how such a law would harm you Marty.

Jane Know said...

ha ha ha *snort* (fannie's comment)

Winghunter said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jane Know said...

winghunter,

excellent Kennedy reference.

ps-MA has the lowest divorce rate in the country.

ppss-i made sure to thank him in an email today for sponsoring the Bill.

pppsss-your abusive language just got you banned from my blog, psycho.

Winghunter said...

I didn't realize you couldn't handle the truth Jane...but, then again look what you drool.

Rachel said...

Jane,
Why would anyone deduce that at candle light vigils held in remeberence of someone where people protest with signs that read "GOD HATES FAGS", that a hate-crime might be involved?

Jane Know said...

oh, is THAT the truth? finally, an answer! thank the goddess that winghunter finally came along and showed me the light.

and what? i drool? i don't get it...

Marty said...

Jane, if you want to know why MA has one of the lowest divorce rates in the country, you need only look at their marriage rate. Also one of the lowest... Likewise, states with the highest marriage rates (excepting Nevada for obvious reasons) also have high divorce rates.

Looked at objectively, one can only conclude that as a state, Massachussetts takes the institution of marriage far less seriously than almost any other.

Not that anyone has ever accused you of looking at things objectively...

Jane Know said...

riiiggggght, marty. that MUST be the reason they have the lowest marriage rate. they just don't take marriage seriously over there in Massachussetts.

the same guy who googled "meth + matthew + shepard" in a pathetic attempt to minimize a tragic hate crime... is. telling. me. i'm. not. objective.

Marty said...

See for yourself. The divorce rate, like the marriage rate, is calculated "per 1000 persons" -- whether they are married or not.

Therefore, a low marriage rate cannot help but result in a low divorce rate.

It aint rocket science.

Jane Know said...

nope, marty... it certainly "aint" rocket science. which leaves me mystified as to why you think your bigoted reading of the stats is going to influence me.

Marty said...

As if your calling me a "bigot" is going to influence anyone?

Your blatant dishonsesty and persistent refusal to debate matters calmly and objectively does more than enough damage to your credibility than any name I could call you.

Yes, you're influencing plenty of folks. Keep it up :)

Jane Know said...

i'm not trying to influence anyone by calling you a bigot. that's evident enough in your writings.

Miss Kitty Fantastico said...

Marty,
Why does someone who couldn't possibly get laid care so much about marriage laws anyway? If I were you I'd focus on internet porn laws.

Fannie said...

Oh no she di-in't!

*snap*

Rachel said...

I'm pretty sure she did. I'm pretty sure it's accurate.

Anonymous said...

Jane, I strongly disagree with Marty's reading of the Matthew Shephard case. But I'm baffled why you refer to Marty reading of the marriage stats as "bigoted." AFAIK what Marty said here is objectively true:

The divorce rate, like the marriage rate, is calculated "per 1000 persons" -- whether they are married or not.

Therefore, a low marriage rate cannot help but result in a low divorce rate.


That's absolutely correct. The stats that promote MA's low divorce rate simply reflect its low marriage rate. If you reduce the marriage rate to zero, the divorce rate will soon drop to zero as well, and that's not progress.

The statistics don't tell us much about the success of marriage in the state, unless we look at the ratio divorced persons to married persons within the state.

Better yet, since society primarily recognizes marriage in order to make it more likely for children to be raised by a loving father and mother, we should realize that marriage is not an end in itself, and look at the average number of years that children within the state lives with their mother and father.

(If someone realizes that her new spouse is unfit, and gets a divorce or annulment before the couple conceives a child, that's not a bad thing, or a "failure" of marriage.)

-c

Jane Know said...

C-
yes i am aware of how the statistics work.

however, marty's "obvious" conclusion doesn't hold. you conveniently left that out:
"Looked at objectively, one can only conclude that as a state, Massachussetts takes the institution of marriage far less seriously than almost any other."

not very objective if you ask me. there are a multitude of possible reasons that Massachussetts has a lower marriage rate.

besides, it's begging the question that his type of marriage (heterosexual) is the only type of marriage that is "serious." obviously, we don't think that. marty is making implicit what he sets out to prove. most of his reasoning does that.

Anonymous said...

Ah. Thank you for clarifying, Jane. I agree *that* final statement was not objective.

As for your statement about ssm being serious, my response is that anyone who has ever had their employer go through a corporate "marriage" knows that corporate "marriage" is a serious business. But that doesn't mean that it's a real marriage. It's an analogy to marriage.

The classic Greek civilizations which practiced formal same-sex unions would have been insulted at your statement that same-sex relationships are a type of "marriage." Their poets and philosophers make very clear that these Greeks saw their relationships as superior to the relationship of marriage; they referred to it as the "purest love." So reserving the word marriage to refer to the union of man and woman does not inherently presuppose that the same-sex relationship is not just as intense, loving, and committed as the male-female relationship.

Jane Know said...

"The classic Greek civilizations which practiced formal same-sex unions would have been insulted at your statement that same-sex relationships are a type of "marriage.""

C-
see? and all we want here in 21st century U.S. is recognition that our relationships are equal. ;-)

Anonymous said...

... and all *we* want in the 21st century and beyond, just as we had for the first eight millenia of civilization, is recognition that the union of man and woman for life is *unique* in certain important aspects.

Not that it's *better* or more valuable.

Just *differently* valuable.

Earlier on this thread, Rachel expressed a fairly liberal definition of "lesbianism":

I know MANY, MANY lesbians who have had and currently DO have sex with men. Their penis is just fine. In fact many lesbians (and heterosexual woman) use inanimate penis-like object to sexually pleasure them. It’s probably some trivial bullshit like emotional connection or some crap that makes lesbians chose other women.

Do you define the word lesbian so openly, Jane?

How would you feel if hetero guys started identifying themselves as "lesbians"?

Wouldn't you feel that was a little bit of an invasion of your space?

Our Sexual identity isn't parallel to yours. The people you call heterosexual do not identify as such in the same way that you identify as lesbian. If I hear that a straight swinger's bar has been torched, I don't feel that as some attack on me. I don't feel any sort of affiliation to "straights" that you might feel to lesbians.

*Marriage* otoh is a huge part of my identity, and I suspect that's how it is for most of those who oppose ssm.

This is about our cultural and sexual identity.

Jane Know said...

sexual orientation is whatever the person decides he or she is. i don't have a strict definition of lesbianism.

hey, if hetero guys want to start defining themselves as lesbians, more power to 'em. but i doubt anyone would want to take a "step down" the societal hierarchy and give up his hetero-male-privileged status.

"Our Sexual identity isn't parallel to yours. The people you call heterosexual do not identify as such in the same way that you identify as lesbian."

true. yet, there are many, many subcultures of lesbians and gays, just as there are subcultures of heterosexuals. that's what a lot of straight people who aren't immersed in gay culture as much don't realize. those of us who are pushing for gay marriage do believe that our relationships do parallel hetero relationships.

i'm sure your marriage is a big part of your identity. and no one is trying to take that away from you. it will be every bit as sacred as it always has been.

but to deny that same privilege to me isn't fair. i know that if i am one day allowed to marry my long-term monogamous girlfriend, that will not in any way affect your own marriage.

Jane Know said...

christian said, "and all *we* want in the 21st century and beyond, just as we had for the first eight millenia of civilization, is recognition that the union of man and woman for life is *unique* in certain important aspects."


and christian, just as much as you hate appeals to authority, do i hate appeals to tradition.