Thursday, October 22, 2009

Matthew Shepard Act passes! Time to take this bull by the horns with new endeavour

Excellent news today from Congress:

The Senate passed groundbreaking legislation Thursday that would make it a federal crime to assault an individual because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.

President Obama has said the country must make significant changes to ensure equal rights.

The expanded federal hate crimes law now goes to President Obama's desk. Obama has pledged to sign the measure, which was added to a $680 billion defense authorization bill.

President George W. Bush had threatened to veto a similar measure.

The bill is named for Matthew Shepard, a gay Wyoming teenager who died after being kidnapped and severely beaten in October 1998.

Thursday's Senate vote approving the measure was 68-29.

Just more proof of the adage that the battle never is never given to the swift and strong but those who are willing to stay in the fight.

Yeah I know I'm probably misquoting but don't ruin this moment of happiness because it's fleeting.

Don't get me wrong. I am estatic over this huge victory but I want more huge victories. Lgbts deserve it. We not only deserve hate crimes legislation but also the passage of ENDA, the Repeal of DADT, and any other law that will ensure our rights as Americans.

So let's dance briefly and be prepared to work hard because the religious right aren't happy about this. And you know that they will double their efforts to dehumanize us.

But Ive been thinking.

The religious right's main lying claim about lgbt-inclusive hate crimes legislation is that it will lead to attacks on the free speech of those who think that homosexuality is a sin.

They say that pastors will be arrested in the pulpits for simply saying that homosexuality is a sin.

Well as soon as President Obama signs the Matthew Shepard Act, I will be creating an online clock that will count up how long it should take from Obama signing this bill to the arrest of a pastor for simply saying that homosexuality is a sin.

Of course no pastor will be arrested for simply calling homosexuality a sin. And that is the point of the online clock.

The religious right likes to spin a fear story. I say we hold them to it.

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Phil said...

There will be "mission creep." It won't be a pastor arrested for preaching against homosexuality (because that can't be a crime, given First Amendment protections). It'll be some good "christian" boy who attacked a gay man because he thought he was being "looked at."

And then the Religious Reich will bray about how "Poor Johnny Whitebread" was acting on his christian beliefs and as a matter of self-defense while he hacked his neighbor to death with a cleaver, over the course of three hours.

Andy Armitage said...

We get that sort of thing among Christian lunatics over here in the UK. They think it will be impossible to discuss homosexuality for fear of falling foul of the law. No, it won’t.

We, too, believe in free speech. If any preacherman is arrested for merely criticising homosexuality, I’ll be among the first to criticise that. If he incites violence or libels or slanders someone, that’s a different matter.

alex1029 said...

I had also heard that this bill would silence free speech.

BlackTsunami said...

No Alex,

the bill merely attaches sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender to already pre-existing hate crimes legislation.

It will not hinder free speech in any way. It punishes action, not speech.