WASHINGTON - Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-SF) criticized the Republican leadership for pulling Hate Crimes provisions from the Department of Defense Authorization bill late last night. Bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate voted to include provisions adding protections against hate crimes based on sexual orientation, gender, or disability to federal law. However, the Republican leadership’s opposition led to removal of the language from the bill.
Pelosi stated, "Republican opponents have argued that there is no need for federal Hate Crimes legislation because assault and murder are already crimes. However, the brutality of these crimes speaks to the reality that when a person is targeted for violence because of their sexual orientation, race, or other group membership, the assailant intends to send a message to all members of that community. That message is you are not welcome."
"This effort to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation is a different type of crime, and it demands a different kind of response. All Americans have a right to feel safe in their community," added Pelosi. "Hate crimes legislation, entitled the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act of 2000, counters this message of intimidation with a strong statement that our society does not condone and will not tolerate hate-based violence."
In addition to bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate, Hate Crimes legislation is supported by 175 civil rights, religious, civic and law enforcement organizations