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Including Gays In Hate Crime Law ‘An Affront’ Groups Say

Posted by pozlife on April 25, 2007


by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: April 24, 2007 – 7:00 pm ET 

(Washington) Legislation that would add crimes against gays and lesbians under federal hate crime law has come under fire from a collection of African-American leaders and a group that claims to cure “unwanted same-sex attraction’ through faith.

Called the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, it would allow the Department of Justice to assist local authorities in investigating and prosecuting cases in which violence occurs.

The measure was introduced in the Senate earlier this month (story) and in the House in March (story).

House subcommittee hearings were held last week and the subcommittee, headed by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), could vote on the bill later this week.

Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., Pastor Marvin Winans, Bishop Larry Brandon and Bishop Liston Paige, Jr. were joined at a Washington news conference on Tuesday to denounce adding gays to the hate crime bill.

The Black pastors said sexuality cannot be equated to race and civil rights.

“We stand today with many in the African-American community who also recognize that one’s sexuality can be changed, but one’s skin color cannot,” said Alan Chambers, the President of Exodus International, the largest of the so-called ex-gay groups. 

“We call upon Congress to promote legislation that affirms authentic equality and protects our religious freedoms.” he said, adding that the legislation “says that we, as former homosexuals, are of less value and worth less legal protection now then when we were living as homosexuals.”

The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act is named for Matthew Shepard, the gay college student who was killed in a homophobic attack in Wyoming in 1998.

Last week clergy from across the country gathered on Capitol Hill Tuesday to call for passage of the bill. (story)

The measure passed the House in the last Congress but was dropped in the then Republican-controlled Senate last year. (story

Although the bill has bi-artisan support, with Democrats now in control of both houses in Congress it is seen as having a better chance of passage.

FBI statistics show that one in six hate crimes is motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation.

The African American and “ex-gay” leaders also said they oppose federal legislation barring discrimination based on sexuality the workplace. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act was introduced in the House on Tuesday. (story)

Source: Gay News From 365Gay.com


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