Senate Set to Vote on Hate-Crimes Amendment
by Jennifer Mesko, associate editor
Kennedy bashes military, says crimes against homosexuals are tantamount to terrorism.
The U.S. Senate is set to vote on two key amendments to a Defense spending bill Thursday, including one that would enshrine homosexuality in federal law.
The hate-crimes amendment would create a new federal class of crime based on "actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity," but the underlying goal is to grant federal civil-rights status to homosexuality.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has introduced an alternative amendment that would simply require a study of hate crimes.
Gay-activist organizations sounded the alert today, and it's vital that the Senate hear from family advocates.
Why is the amendment attached to a military spending bill? Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., has tried many explanations.
"The Defense Authorization Bill is dealing with the challenges of terrorism," he said last week. "And the hate crimes issue … we're talking about domestic terrorism."
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, called that argument outrageous.
"Again, we see this effort to try and link those who defend traditional morality with those in the Middle East who are blowing people up," he said on his weekly radio program. "This is outrageous. This legislation will eventually lead to Christians, and the speech that would counter homosexuality, being criminalized."
Today, Kennedy tried a new angle on the Senate floor.
"This amendment will strengthen the Defense Authorization Act by protecting those who volunteer to serve in the military," Kennedy said. "The vast majority of our soldiers serve with honor and distinction … but sadly, our military bases are not immune from the violence that comes with hatred."
Ashley Horne, federal policy analyst for Focus on the Family Action, said: "Senator Kennedy’s hate-crimes amendment doesn’t belong in the Defense spending bill, and it doesn’t belong in law, period."
Please call your senators today and urge them to oppose the hate-crimes amendment. Visit the Action Center, then enter your ZIP code to find your senators' phone numbers. To learn more about the legislation, read the Focus Action fact sheet. Also, take a moment to sign the Focus on the Family Action petition.