Civil + Right = Civil Right

October 28th, 2009

As reported by “A civil rights advance” (Washington Post 10/28/09), “Hate Crimes Bill Signed Into Law 11 Years After Matthew Shepard’s Death” (Huffington Post 10/28/09), and CNN, President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act today. See also our earlier posts about Matt Shepard and the hate crimes bill. Watch the video below of the signing ceremony (see more news clips on the HRC website).

 

President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard Act today

Making hate crime a Federal offense against those who are gay.

In doing so he righted a wrong

That’s been around much too long.

 

Why did the Federal government have to take action?

Because 18 states don’t consider gay hate crimes an infraction.

Thirty-one state attorney generals supported the Act,

Also by over 200 law enforcement, religious, and other organizations backed.

 

Opponents said gays shouldn’t get special deference,

I guess like not being beat up for their sexual preference.

That’s not something that happens if you’re straight,

Because heterosexuals as a group aren’t an object of hate.

 

During the debate Rep. Tom Price

Said something that wasn’t very nice.

He said protection for gays is a “disgrace”,

But I guess he’s OK with punching gays in the face.

 

How about beating and robbing a gay student and leaving him to die?

I guess he thought that also wouldn’t qualify.

Calling Matt Shepard’s murder a hate crime is a “hoax,” another Republican said

While Matt’s mother listened from the gallery overhead.

 

Some opponents worried that the Act would promote depravity,

Since it would “muzzle people of faith who dare to express…biblical concerns about homosexuality.”

To counter this “concern” Dems included an explicit provision

Guaranteeing anti-gay pastors could voice this odious opinion.

 

Jesus taught us the Golden Rule,

Which even gay non-Christians learn in school.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you;

I don’t want to be beaten for who I am, do you?

 

There have been 16 thousand hate crimes against gays since 1991.

Being on the receiving end of even one isn’t fun.

But hate crimes aren’t just against one person directed.

The entire community targeted is affected.

 

Hatred of minorities is a social infection.

That’s why groups discriminated against need hate crime protection.

It’s not an “extra privilege” that they wield,

It’s just an attempt to level the playing field.

 

To be safe in your person

Is a constitutional and civil right.

Protecting that is only civil,

And it’s only right.

 

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