UPDATED! Senate passes hate crime bill protecting gays and transgendered

I am not sure this will even be considered a diary, but I am happy to see the following:

"The Senate on Thursday approved the most sweeping expansion of federal hate crimes law since Congress responded four decades ago to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

The legislation, backed by President Barack Obama, would extend federal protections granted under the 1968 hate crimes law to cover those physically attacked because of their gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability."

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/arti cle/ALeqM5hmxKiiSIsM-k7nX2yECb7kGw1qhwD9 9FUN7G0

This is the first time, to my mind, a piece of major legislation has passed the federal level to protect the rights of gay, lesbian and transgender communities. We should all think the Congress for doing this. We should also tell the White House we will be elated to see President Obama sign the bill.

One more bonus statement from President Obama that gives me a hopey-hope from President Obama's speech to the NAACP today:

"But make no mistake: the pain of discrimination is still felt in America. By African-American women paid less for doing the same work as colleagues of a different color and gender. By Latinos made to feel unwelcome in their own country. By Muslim Americans viewed with suspicion for simply kneeling down to pray. By our gay brothers and sisters, still taunted, still attacked, still denied their rights."

http://www.pamshouseblend.com/diary/1207 7/the-president-to-the-naacp-discriminat ion-against-our-gay-brothers-and-sisters -must-not-stand

Why does this matter you may wonder? I wondered too, and then, I saw this in the comments section of Pam's House of Blend:

"The NAACP, the nation's oldest civil rights organization, today will consider approving a task force's recommendation to support gays who want to marry, a step that one national board member hopes could move the group toward supporting same-sex marriage."

This matters for changing hearts and minds.

I attack President Obama a lot on his less than stellar record so far on gay rights. However, if he sign this bill, he will  begin to place deeds behind his words. I can not speak for anyone else in the gay community. I can only say this is what I am seeking from him. Action. So, thank you both the Democrats in Congress and President Obama in advance.

Update [2009-7-18 14:58:47 by bruh3]: This from Pam's House Of Blend about what other gay friendly provisions are included in the Defense Bill: "Section 524 of H.R. 2647 contains a provision that amends 10 U.S.C. 504, which is a U.S. code defining who is disqualified from military service. Section 524 would amend the U.S. Code to specifically prohibit members of violent hate groups, criminal gangs, and separatists from enlisting. It mandates that recruiters cannot enlist such people, and requires that if identified, such people be immediately expelled from the armed forces. It defines both hate and separatist groups, and deliberately identifies as ineligible people who join the armed forces “in order to obtain military training to be used for acts of violence against minorities, other groups, or the United States government.” Specifically, it defines a hate group as, among other things: (F) Groups or organizations that espouse violence based on race, creed, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation." http://www.pamshouseblend.com/diary/12098/language-in-defense-authorization-act-explicitly-bars-hate-group-members-from-service I know Charles Lemos wrote about this recently, but to me, this is the best approach. Namely, rather than using this as a reason not to integrate the military- the goal is to weed out such hate groups. There are also efforts to include Gillibrand's 18 month moratorium on DADT.

Tags: gays, hate crimes, President Obama, Senate (all tags)



I wouldn't count on him signing the bill

I hate to say this, but I think the Senate did this to try and force the President to go along with the F-22s...there's no way he can veto this bill with this in it...or will he anyway...I would tick me off beyond words if the Senate is using this to get their crap through that the President opposes.

This is why I'm undecided on the line item veto.

by DTOzone 2009-07-16 08:14PM | 0 recs
Oh, I fully support a line item veto

Along with replacing the Senate with a proportional body, making public financing the sole source of campaign financing, and giving DC state-like representation and autonomy (we'll argue about calling it a state or not at another time), it's one amendment I'd like to see.  Put some kind of override mechanism in there (2/3, 3/5, whatever), require each line item get separate consideration, and protect against the executive cutting out a letter or word here and totally changing the meaning of the bill, something I hear Tommy Thompson would do.

by TheUnknown285 2009-07-17 04:36AM | 0 recs
I'm against the LIV

both because it's unconstitutional (Congress and Congress alone gets to write the laws) and because I think Presidents are too powerful already. But I don't see how Obama could veto the defense bill if it includes hate crimes in the final product.

Conference with the House will determine which provision gets dropped. If just the F-22's get dropped (best case scenario), Obama signs. If the F-22's stay and hate crimes get dropped, Obama vetoes. If both get dropped, he'll sign. And if both stay in? I don't know, but I suspect signing hate crimes is a bigger priority than vetoing F-22's. Especially since he doesn't want to upset the gay community any further, and both he and Holder have pushed the hate crimes bill aggressively.

by raginillinoian 2009-07-17 05:39AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm against the LIV

Well, I did say it needed an amendment to pass.  And I think a bigger problem is how narrow parochial interests are bloating the federal budget while the representatives attaching pork are voting against things with much wider importance (such as healthcare reform).

by TheUnknown285 2009-07-17 06:28AM | 0 recs

IMHO, the line item veto might help fix the first part (pork, although by its nature it would mean the President can approve some pork projects and reject others), but not the second part (members standing in the way of popular reforms). Campaign finance reform is the only way to fix that.

by raginillinoian 2009-07-17 08:03AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm against the LIV

The Supreme Court has ruled the line item veto unconstitutional as an inappropriate delegation of congressional power.  It's a dead issue.  The states, on the other hand, are free to do as they like unless the state constitution provides a similar restraint.

by orestes 2009-07-22 11:07AM | 0 recs
I don't think so. They had to do this because

Republican Senators was throwing procedural roadblocks preventing the hate crimes from floor votes. Senator Durbin clearly explained that yesterday.

Regarding F22, I think they are asking for about seven more than what Obama and Gates are willing to consider at this point. Gates wants to stop funding after the 4 F22 construction this year. The seven planes in the next couple of years would keep the manufacturing base and the supply chain alive before they transition to F-35 manufacturing. I don't think that's a bad idea. Congress also needs to reverse the law they passed preventing F22 sale to foreign countries. Japan for example would like to buy 60 of them.

by louisprandtl 2009-07-17 06:33AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't think so. They had to do this because

Thanks for the informative post.

by bruh3 2009-07-17 06:46AM | 0 recs
Re: I wouldn't count on him signing the bill

I do not understand why the President would have to veto a bill just because of an appropriation he dislikes.  The Pentagon is part of the Executive Branch, right?  So if Obama wants to cancel the F-22 program... just cancel it.  Send the appropriated funds back.

by Steve M 2009-07-17 07:53AM | 0 recs
Re: I wouldn't count on him signing the bill

I don't think it works that way, but I'm not exactly clear. Since Congress has power of the purse, I don't believe the President can decide to spend the funds differently than Congress voted to spend them.

by raginillinoian 2009-07-17 08:04AM | 0 recs
Re: I wouldn't count on him signing the bill

I'm pretty sure he can't spend the funds differently, in the case of this or any other earmark, but I don't see what stops him from simply declining to spend the funds at all.

by Steve M 2009-07-17 08:16AM | 0 recs
Just because Congress appropriates the funds

does not mean Pentagon have to spend that fund that year.

by louisprandtl 2009-07-17 08:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Just because Congress appropriates the funds

You sure?  I thought Nixon tried to do something similar (called impoundment) and got Dick slapped (sorry, couldn't resist) by the Supreme Court.

by TheUnknown285 2009-07-17 09:06AM | 0 recs
Re: I wouldn't count on him signing the bill

You are correct.  Congress controls the purse string and the President cannot divert the funds for another use.  Also, the president may not refuse to spend money allocated by Congress.  Thus, if Congress says buy these planes, the President has no choice under the constitution.

by orestes 2009-07-22 11:04AM | 0 recs
No to line item veto

It's too much power for an executive to have.  Take it from a guy from Minnesota, where Governor Tim Pawlenty used the line item to vindictively remove light rail funding (a measure he supports ) from the budget to force the legislature to re-do the entire thing to suit his purposes.  He was also more than a little miffed about the transit veto override last year; the entire thing was vindictive as hell.

by Dracomicron 2009-07-17 09:04AM | 0 recs
Re: No to line item veto

Then, place a check from the legislature.  Let them vote to override, just like regular vetoes.

by TheUnknown285 2009-07-17 09:07AM | 0 recs
I don't know, really

Honestly, I'm yet to be convinced that it could work.  It'd have to be a veto override majority, and it's pretty rare that we ever get that in politics these days.  Due to strictly political reasons, people who didn't vote for the main bill still won't vote for vetoed lines even if they agree with them, because then they'd be tied to voting for the whole bill come next election.  

I know that bad habits of our congresspeople isn't a reason to not do something that we believe is right, but I can be pessimistic about its prospects, right?

by Dracomicron 2009-07-17 09:13AM | 0 recs
I'm not a big fan of the idea of a line item veto.  Some times two different laws need to co-exist in order for either of them to function especially in situations where one elliviates the problems caused by another.  Imagine if a Republican President actually signed a bill that had cap and trade in it but vetoed the part that alleviated the cost to the lower class.  
Plus, while we may not like it, the legislators did agree to the package, not some of its parts.  Adding thigs can turn weak opposition into tepid support.  That's sometimes bad, but its the way the world works.  I would however support a line item veto where the president veto's the bill but strikes out the offending passages and leave the parts she or he likes and returns it to the Senate and House.  The new "bill" only gets to be voted on, no amendments no revisions.  If it gets a simple majority in both houses, it becomes law.  This ensures that Congress has not some how given approval to a law it doesn't like(as in my scenario where two laws require each other to work and one is removed), and provides the opportunity for the congress to approve a "clean" bill (still subject to the agenda of the president admittedly).  also it might be a good way of getting around a cloture vote if the amendment was worded correctly (another debate could be if that's a good thing or not).
by goodleh 2009-07-17 10:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Senate passes hate crime bill...

Interesting that Congress has no problem creating special protections for GLBT citizens but runs away with hems in hand when it comes to ensuring all of our citizens enjoy their basic right to happiness.

This important bill rings a little hollow to me. Until DADT is repealed and marriage equality is realized, I won't give these critters much praise. But at least they are finally scurrying in the right direction now.

by JerryColorado23 2009-07-17 12:35PM | 0 recs


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