Friday, July 17, 2009

Senate approves hate-crime legislation (by Suzie)

Gender, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity would be added to hate-crime legislation, under a measure passed yesterday by the Senate. Obama has promised to sign it into law. The act is named after Matthew Shepard.

You can read more here. Just remember that hate-crime statistics generally do not include gender now. I wrote about this in May. You may want to check out that post, plus the excellent comments.

ETA: links I left in comments in May. RAINN discusses rape as a hate crime. Here's a good law review article on why rape should be a hate crime.

In 1999, Sen. Ted Kennedy said rape should be prosecuted as a hate crime only if "gender animus" could be proven (or else it was done because of another bigotry, such as bias against gays). The conservative Concerned Women for America responded that all rape involved hate (although it opposes the classification of "hate crime" for any crime.)

Here are Lexia's comments from May:
Of the 45 states and DC that have hate crime laws, all of them cover race, religion and ethnicity. Only 28 cover gender. Again, more cover sexual orientation - 32. Source data here.
Thurgood Marshall's unworthy successor as lead council for the NAACP, Jack Greenburg, said, "Domestic violence is as American as apple pie, and you just wonder whether the federal courts can handle it." The quote was published in "Legal Times" during the passage of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act. Referenced here.
For men of any race, creed, color or sexual orientation, the greater the pervasiveness and degree of violence, the greater the urgency to eliminate it. For women and only for women, the inverse applies: It's too big a problem, so it's insoluble, so help us fight male violence against other men or shut up.
For a brief period from 1995 or so till 2000, rape was classified as at least a civil rights violation against women. In 1994, the Violence Against Women Act was passed after a "mountain of evidence" and years of congressional testimony showed that male violence affects the lives of almost every woman in America.
In 2000, VAWA was eviscerated by the Supreme Court in "U.S. v. Morrison." (Opinion) (Dissent here and here) ... VAWA had been opposed by federal judges from its inception, because women's rights were violated on such a massive scale the judges didn't want that clogging up the courts and keeping them from important business.

The other legal bastion of protection from violence and hate because of the body a person was born into, the 14th amendment, was ruled out for women in Gonzales v. Castle Rock in 2005.