Separate but Unequal Protection
By: Guest Authors
By J. Matt Barber
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) have quietly re-introduced the federal thought crimes bill, H.R. 1913, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. As has proved to be true in both Europe and Canada, this Orwellian piece of legislation is the direct precursor to freedom killing and speech chilling â€œhate speechâ€ laws. It represents a thinly veiled effort to ultimately silence â€“ under penalty of law â€“ morally, medically and biblically based opposition to the homosexual lifestyle. The bill is expected to be marked up Wednesday before the full House Judiciary Committee.
Under the 14th Amendment, victims of violent crime are currently afforded equal protection under the law regardless of sexual preference or proclivity. If passed, H.R. 1913 will change all that. It overtly and, most likely, unconstitutionally discriminates against millions of Americans by granting federally preferred status, time and resources to individuals who define their identity based upon aberrant sexual behaviors (i.e., â€œgayâ€ and lesbian â€œsexual orientationâ€ or cross-dressing â€œgender identityâ€).
Of course, this entire concept flies in the face of the 14th Amendment. It inarguably codifies unequal protection under the law, creating a two-tiered justice system made up of first-class victims such as those who self-identify as homosexual or â€œtransgenderâ€ and second-class victims such as the elderly, children, pregnant women, veterans, the homeless and others who choose not to engage in homosexual or cross-dressing behaviors.
There is exactly zero evidence to suggest that homosexuals or cross-dressers do not currently receive equal protection under the law. In fact, you need only look to the most famous â€œhate crimeâ€ of all â€“ Matthew Shepard â€“ for proof. Although the evidence determined that Shepard’s murder was not a â€œhate crimeâ€ by definition (a misconception still widely propagated by the homosexual lobby, the media and liberal lawmakers) the two thugs who committed the crime nonetheless received life in prison â€“ and rightfully so. (Shepard’s murder turned out to be the end result of a robbery for drug money gone from bad to horrible).
Likewise, the murderer of Mary Stachowicz â€“ a devout Catholic grandmother who was brutally killed by a homosexual man in Chicago merely for sharing the Bible â€“ was also given a life sentence. The system worked in both cases and both victims received equal justice under the law apart from any discriminatory â€œhate crimesâ€ legislation.
Yet, proponents of H.R. 1913 claim itâ€™s needed to curb an epidemic of so-called â€œhate crimesâ€ committed against homosexuals and those who suffer gender identity disorder. This is a lie that is knowingly and intentionally cultivated by a very well funded and intrinsically deceptive homosexual lobby. The alarmist propaganda simply doesnâ€™t square with the facts.
According to the latest FBI statistics, in 2007 there were about 1.4 million violent crimes committed in the U.S. Of those, only 1512 were reported as â€œhate crimesâ€ motivated by â€œsexual orientationâ€ bias. Over two thirds of those were allegations of â€œhatefulâ€ words, touching, intimidation, pushing or shoving. There were a mere 247 cases of aggravated assault (including 5 deaths) allegedly motivated by â€œsexual orientationâ€ bias nationwide. In each case, where appropriate, offenders were prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and victims were afforded the exact same justice guaranteed every other American.
The entire push for federal â€œhate crimesâ€ legislation is rooted in fraud. In fact, many of the most high profile reports have turned out to be false. For example, investigators determined that the very â€œhate crimeâ€ (Andrew Anthos in Michigan) exploited by liberal lawmakers to justify the same legislation in the last Congress, was a false report. It never happened. And instances of such fabricated and politically motivated â€œhate crimesâ€ continue to pile up.
So, if proponents of H.R. 1913 are neither justified nor motivated by an actual need for the bill â€“ as clearly demonstrated â€“ then what drives them? The answer is twofold. First, passage of â€œhate crimesâ€ legislation would place the behaviorally driven and fluid concepts of â€œsexual orientationâ€ and â€œgender identityâ€ on an equal footing with legitimate, neutral and immutable â€œsuspect classâ€ characteristics such as skin color or a personâ€™s true gender.
This creates both a sociopolitical and legal environment wherein traditional sexual morality officially becomes the new racism. Those who publically express medical, moral or religious opposition to the homosexual lifestyle are tagged by the government as â€œhomophobic bigotsâ€ to be treated no differently by law enforcement, the courts or larger society than the KKK or neo-Nazis.
In short, this bill places newfangled â€œgay rightsâ€ in direct conflict with our enumerated constitutional rights. It becomes the first step in the official criminalization of Christianity. Itâ€™s a zero sum game and someone has to lose. Ultimately, what we lose are our First Amendment guaranteed rights to freedom of speech, religious expression and association.
But the threat is not just some shadowy phantom looming in the near future. Itâ€™s a clear and present danger. While debating the notion of â€œconspiracy to commit a hate crimeâ€ in the last congress, Artur Davis (D-AL) admitted that the legislation could be used to prosecute pastors for merely preaching the Bible under the concept of â€œinducementâ€ to violence.
Furthermore, under existing criminal statute if H.R. 1913 becomes law, actual violence or injury need not take place for a â€œhate crimeâ€ to occur. For example, if a group of Christians are at a â€œgay prideâ€ parade and a one of them gently places his hand on a homosexualâ€™s shoulder and shares that there is freedom from homosexuality through a relationship with Jesus Christ, then, voila, we have a battery and, consequently, a felony â€œhate crime.â€
But the Christian neednâ€™t even touch the homosexual. If the homosexual merely claims he was subjectively placed in â€œapprehension of bodily injuryâ€ by the Christianâ€™s words then, again, the Christian can be thrown in prison for a felony â€œhate crime.â€ The FBI has included mere words â€“ â€œinsultsâ€ and â€œintimidationâ€ â€“ in calculating â€œhate crimesâ€ statistics and â€“ under the current political regime in Washington â€“ thereâ€™s every reason to believe theyâ€™ll subjectively consider â€œinsultsâ€ and â€œintimidationâ€ (read: traditional sexual morality) for purposes of prosecuting â€œhate crimes.â€
Yes, itâ€™s a brave new world and with H.R. 1913 â€“ among other things â€“ a once free America has moved, both literally and figuratively, a quarter of a century beyond Orwellâ€™s 1984.
Matt Barber is Director of Cultural Affairs with both Liberty Counsel and Liberty Alliance Action. He also serves as Associate Dean of Liberty University School of Law and co-hosts the nationally syndicated â€œLiberty Liveâ€ talk radio program on AFR Talk. Send comments to Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org. (This information is provided for identification purposes only.)