Released by Laura Mszar from the office of Louie Gohmert:
After the House Judiciary Committee completed its mark-up of the Hate Crimes bill H.R. 1913, Rep. Louie Gohmert expressed his many concerns surrounding the legislation, including the threat it poses to religious freedom, its elevation of special classes of protected people over other crime victims, and its encroachment on issues traditionally handled by the state.
The following is the transcript of Louie Gohmert's statement to the committee:
Mr. Gohmert: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Yesterday and today in the full Judiciary Committee we've been taking up a bill called by most people the Hate Crimes Act. It sounds like something that everybody would be for. You know, who favors hate? Nobody. Perhaps the only kind of hate we should be in favor of is the hatred with which we hate hate. But that's not what it's about.
It is about creating new law, new crimes that are duplicates of what's in every state in the union. Now, there are 45 states already have hate crime bills but even there most are unnecessary. The case that we often hear that is a reason we need hate crimes is the James Byrd case where this poor gentleman, African-American was drug to death. Now, I would be in favor of allowing the victim's family to pick the terrain and the manner of dragging the defendants once they're convicted, but that's not allowed. The death penalty amendment was even voted down. So there's no enhancement, nothing that would affect the poster cases that are constantly raised as a reason to have hate crime - the hate crime laws. And in fact, when we hear over and over there's these epidemics of hate crimes that we have to stop. Actually, there were nearly a million assaults in 2007. 242 assaults included some kind of bodily injury in which there was some motive attributed to bias or hatred because of a selected group. 242. And, again, there was a killing of a poor young man named Nicholas West killed because he was a homosexual. His perpetrators were not charged under a hate crimes law. They were charged under a capital murder law for kidnapping and they've already got the death penalty. Just like the worse perpetrators in James Byrd's situation.
So what is this about? Well, perhaps it's about trying to create a special class of protected people who maybe shouldn't have protection. One of the last amendments we made today was going to at least in this - the term sexual orientation is included - we kept trying to confine it to things that were not just an aberration. And even the amendment to it least excludes pedophiles from the protected class was voted down on a strict party line. Every Democrat there voted to protect pedophiles and every Republican voted to exclude them at least from the definition of sexual orientation. We were told, well, there is a definition in one of the other laws about sexual orientation. It confines it to heterosexuality. There's no reference to another law. So as a former appellate judge I would be left in reviewing the law saying, what is the plain meaning? You can consider other definitions. Well, some judge will do the right thing that a judge is supposed to do and say, hmm, sexual orientation means what it says, if that's toward child - and the diagnostics statistics manual has about 30 different types of sexual orientation. So - that includes voyeurism. It includes the pedophilea. It includes things like exhibitionism. It includes corpses. But even under this law since exhibitionists are not excluded, then if you - and I've had women tell me they have had people flash themselves, men flash themselves and they immediately react and hit them with a purse. Under that scenario, under this law the exhibitionist committed a misdemeanor and the woman that hit him with a purse committed a new federal felony under the hate crimes law. That is absurd. We don't need this law. There is no reason for it. We've even tried to include in there specifically the kinds of churches that were invaded and attacked for supporting the California marriage amendment. And that was voted down on a straight party line. There should be no special classes, and the other thing here that will silence Christian ministers and eventually rabbis or imams from quoting the Bible, the Tanakh, the Koran where it condemns sexuality because under this bill if a minister, a rabbi, imam quotes from those scriptures and says homosexuality is an aberration or whatever word they use, it hurts society and some nut hears them, goes out, commits a crime of violence, then under 18 U.S.C. 2-a they could be charged - arrested, charged as a principal. This is a bad bill. and it was a bad day for the law.