Hate crimes bill protects gays, lesbians - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Hate crimes bill protects gays, lesbians

By Philippe Djegal - email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - From lynchings to cross burnings to vandalism of synagogues, the FBI has been investigating hate crimes since the 1920's. In the United States, a hate crime is a criminal offense. Federal prosecution is possible for crimes committed on the basis of a person's race, color, or religion.

But, the long fight to add sexual orientation, gender and gender identity to the last, may finally be over.

"It doesn't matter if you're homosexual, heterosexual, white, black, green - it doesn't matter," said U.S. Congressman Louie Gohmert. "If you're a victim, you deserve to be protected."

On Thursday, Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, which will make it a federal crime to assault a person because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity. President Obama's signature will make it law.

"And, it's just the tip of the iceberg," said Troy Carlyle, founder of Tyler Area Gays. "We're beginning to be recognized as human beings with fundamental human rights."

Carlyle says hate against gays should no longer be tolerated.

"We should all be able to agree that they do not deserve to be beaten or killed because of their sexual orientation," said Carlyle.

"Those of use who are opponents of this bill, like me, believe with all our hearts, if someone commits a crime of violence against another, they should be punished," said Gohmert.

But, Congressman Gohmert worries that this bill could limit the first amendment rights of free speech and religious expression.

"They can go back and see: Did he ever attend someone's church?" said Gohmert. "Did that minister at that church preach about homosexuality or evil?"

East Texas civil attorney Greg Smith says speech relating to homosexuality will not be criminalized.

"This one has a provision that ensures it doesn't prosecute beliefs, but only acts," said Smith. "It does that by an expressed rule of evidence."

"And, I think that they're going to find that when we protect gay people under the hate crimes legislation, it's not going to be the end of the world either," said Carlyle.

According to the FBI, as of 2007, more than 16 percent of all hate crimes in the U.S. resulted from sexual orientation bias. More than 50 percent were racially motivated. James Byrd Jr. is also honored in the hate crimes act. He was dragged to death in 1998 because he was black.

©2009 KLTV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

  • NewsMore>>

  • Red Zone Rundown: Joe Drennon takes over Hallsville, Bobcats buy in to win.

    Red Zone Rundown: Joe Drennon takes over Hallsville, Bobcats buy in to win.

    Tuesday, August 22 2017 11:37 PM EDT2017-08-23 03:37:34 GMT
    KLTV StaffKLTV Staff
    "I really loved wearing the orange when I wore it, but I'm awful glad to wearing purple and gold right now. Kids did a great job of being here all summer long. That in itself tells me they want to be successful," said Joe Drennon, Bobcats head football coach. It journey won't be easy. The Hallsville Bobcats are coming off a rough 2016 season where they only came out victorious twice.  "We can't control what's gone on it the past. What we got to do ...More >>
    "I really loved wearing the orange when I wore it, but I'm awful glad to wearing purple and gold right now. Kids did a great job of being here all summer long. That in itself tells me they want to be successful," said Joe Drennon, Bobcats head football coach. It journey won't be easy. The Hallsville Bobcats are coming off a rough 2016 season where they only came out victorious twice.  "We can't control what's gone on it the past. What we got to do ...More >>
  • 1 dead, 1 in custody following dispute over animals in Marion County

    1 dead, 1 in custody following dispute over animals in Marion County

    Tuesday, August 22 2017 11:33 PM EDT2017-08-23 03:33:25 GMT
    Amy Allen, left, and Amber LongAmy Allen, left, and Amber Long

    Officials say a dispute over animals between two former business partners preceded a homicide in Marion County.

    More >>

    Officials say a dispute over animals between two former business partners preceded a homicide in Marion County.

    More >>
  • Aggies working to be better toward the end of the season

    Aggies working to be better toward the end of the season

    Tuesday, August 22 2017 10:35 PM EDT2017-08-23 02:35:42 GMT
    Sumlin is trying to make sure A&M finishes strong in 2017.Sumlin is trying to make sure A&M finishes strong in 2017.

    On Monday the Associated Press released its top 25 preseason poll for college football. And for the third straight year, Texas A&M didn't make the cut. Starting fast though and moving their way up the polls in recent seasons hasn't been the problem. In fact, the Aggies, who have over a dozen East Texans on the roster, were number four in the initial playoff rankings last year.

    More >>

    On Monday the Associated Press released its top 25 preseason poll for college football. And for the third straight year, Texas A&M didn't make the cut. Starting fast though and moving their way up the polls in recent seasons hasn't been the problem. In fact, the Aggies, who have over a dozen East Texans on the roster, were number four in the initial playoff rankings last year.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly