Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Obama Signs the Important Hate Crimes Law

With all the talk on health care reform and all the arguments going on, it was nice to see a very important bill almost quietly signed. According to The Oval:

"After more than a decade of opposition and delay, we've passed inclusive hate crimes legislation to help protect our citizens from violence based on what they look like, who they love, how they pray or who they are," Obama said in signing the defense budget bill that includes the new hate-crimes law.

The new law basically expands existing hate-crime protections to outlaw attacks based on sexual orientation or gender, in addition to race, color, religion or national origin.

In a later ceremony devoted to the new law, Obama told supporters, "No one in America should ever be afraid to walk down the street holding the hand of the person they love." He cited statistics that in these past 10 years, there have been more than 12,000 hate crimes based on sexual orientation.

"We will never know how many incidents were never reported at all," Obama said.

It is amazing to me that there were opponents to this bill. The original crimes that it were based on - both well-known, both deplorable acts - were more than just crimes. They were statements against these men just because of the way they lived. It is about time it has been singled out in the right way - everyone deserves respect, and everyone deserves to live their life. To have stronger laws for these types of crimes has been long overdue. It may not change the small, sick minds who commit these types of crimes, but it will at least hopefully make them stop and realize the tougher consequences.

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