Thursday, October 08, 2009

Matthew Shepard Act

This is a start, albeit a very tepid step in the right direction given that the Democrats control the White House and both houses of Congress.

Representative John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said he thinks it wrong to "pass a law that’s going to add further charges to someone based on what they may have been thinking." To whatever extent his argument had merit it was conceded when Congress passed a hate crimes law that "added further charges to someone based on what they may have been thinking" about one's race, ethnic group, or religious affiliation. The free speech rights of the bigot who utters an anti-gay epithet while bashing his or her victim's face with a baseball bat aren't implicated anymore than the free speech rights of the bigot who utters a racial epithet while bashing his or her victim who bashes his or her victim's face with a baseball bat. The free speech rights of the religious zealot who recites biblical passages while bashing his Jewish, Hindu, or Muslim victim on the head are implicated no more than the free speech rights of the religious zealot who recites biblical passages while bashing his gay victim on the head.

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