What on earth do so-called hate crimes have to do with defense???
I hate these types of laws..they are unnecessary...and really try to criminalize thought...
The House voted Thursday to make it a federal crime to assault people because of their sexual orientation, significantly expanding the hate crimes law enacted in the days after Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination in 1968.It is already against the law to assault people...
With expected passage by the Senate, federal prosecutors will for the first time be able to intervene in cases of violence perpetrated against gays.
Civil rights groups and their Democratic allies have been trying for more than a decade to broaden the reach of hate crimes law. This time it appears they will succeed. The measure is attached to a must-pass $680 billion defense policy bill and President Barack Obama - unlike President George W. Bush - is a strong supporter. The House passed the defense bill 281-146, with 15 Democrats and 131 Republicans in opposition.
"It's a very exciting day for us here in the Capitol," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., saying hate crimes legislation was on her agenda when she first entered Congress 22 years ago.
She said it's been 11 years since the gay Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard, whose name was attached to the legislation, was murdered.
The late Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., was a longtime advocate of the legislation.
Many Republicans, normally stalwart supporters of defense bills, voted against it because of the addition of what they referred to as "thought crimes" legislation.
"This is radical social policy that is being put on the defense authorization bill, on the backs of our soldiers, because they probably can't pass it on its own," House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio said.