Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Hate Crimes Amendment

It amazes me to no end that that the Democrats cannot pass a stand-alone hate crimes bill when they have a 59-seat (soon to be 60-seat) majority in the Senate and a larger margin in the House.

This is the most tepid and least effective (but by no means does that suggest it is unimportant or useless) measures gay rights groups are advocating for. If they cannot deliver on this piece of legislation what can they deliver on and why, if they can't deliver on their promises, should we donate any money to their campaigns ever again?

So now they are going to attach it to another piece of legislation. Fine. As long as it passes and is signed by the president I will be satisfied. But why, I ask must it be attached to such legislation? The Lily Ledbetter Act wasn't passed as an amendment to another bill. Why are they embarrassed whenever the issue concerns the rights of gay, lesbian and transgendered Americans?

I think we should issue an ultimatum to these weak-kneed Democrats. They must pass (and have signed into law) two gay rights measures in time for the midterm elections. If they do not, we'll run our own slate of primary challengers (or failing that), refuse to donate to the incumbents' campaigns.

Dear weak-kneed Democrats,

Give us the Matthew Shepard Act and the Employment Nondiscrimination Act if you do not have the courage to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" or the misnamed "Defense of Marriage Act" and if they lack the empathy to pass the the Uniting American Families Act. There should be no reason why, in this day and age, a person can be fired, demoted or passed over for a promotion just because he or she is gay. This isn't about "special rights." It is about equal rights. This isn't about some affirmative action program (though many institutions, it could be argued might benefit by seeking out people of a gay sexual orientation). It is about building a sexual orientation - blind society (think "colorblind"). A conservative Republican who isn't owned by the religious right could vote for this bill.

If you want some time to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," pass the Matthew Shepard Act by summer's end and the Employment Nondiscrimination Act before the midterm elections. Oh, and can our "fierce advocate" in the White House deliver a speech explaining why he is signing them? Can he sign them in front of the cameras, with Judy Shepard standing next to him?

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