Congress Strips Hate Crimes From Defense Bill
Special Report - December 10, 2007
A provision that would have expanded federal hate crimes laws to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected categories was stripped from the 2008 Defense Authorization Bill before the measure passed the U.S. Congress last week. The hate crimes provision, proposed by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), was attached to the Defense spending bill by the U.S. Senate in September by a 60-39 vote. It became clear last week, however, that the House and Senate would not reach an agreement on the 2008 Defense Authorization bill during the final days before the Christmas holidays unless the hate crimes provision was removed.
"We don't have the votes," said one House Democratic aide as quoted in CNN.com. "We're about 40 votes short, not four or six." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) vowed that she is still “strongly committed” to getting the hate crimes measure passed, but she admitted, "it is clear that attaching the language to the (Defense Department) authorization bill would not create a successful outcome in the House."
Currently, federal hate crimes include acts of violence against individuals on the basis of race, religion, color or national origin. The hate crimes provision in the Defense Authorization bill would have added “sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and disability.” It would also have expanded federal authority in hates crimes prosecutions and have provided $10 million over the next two years to help local law enforcement personnel cover the cost of hate crimes prosecutions.
Copyright © 2007. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.