“Two years ago, I voted for federal hate crimes legislation. Since casting that vote, a number of my constituents have made it very clear to me that they disagreed with this vote, and I have tried to weigh their arguments carefully.
Some of the objections have been based on distortions of what this bill actually does. Other objections have reflected nothing more than animosity toward some of the groups who would be covered. Candidly, I have not given a lot of weight to arguments based on groundless claims or fears. But as I have thought more deeply about this issue, there is an argument from my constituents that I have not been able to answer.
Some of my constituents ask why our federal laws should pick out some Americans for more protections than others. Some wonder why, in a culture that rejects violence against any human being, we should say that an attack on a black, or a woman, or a gay individual should be punished more severely than an attack on someone who happens to be a senior citizen, or a soldier, or a teacher. Others ask why some motives based on certain ideas should be punished by our criminal laws more aggressively than others.
The people raising these issues are in my opinion not bigoted people. They are Americans who are advancing fundamental questions about just what equal protection under the law should mean. After a lot of reflection, I have decided that I do not have good answers as to why our laws should not protect all of our people with the same force, and for that reason, I have changed my vote to a “no” on the federal hate crimes bill.”
So we’re to believe that he had a sudden epiphany that hate crimes laws are completely unnecessary. Yeah, right. I eagerly await his sponsorship of a bill to overturn the current hate crimes statute. You know, the one that covers race, color, religion and national origin. Shall I hold my breath? I think not.