Badpuppy Gay Today

Wednesday, 17 December 1997

2,500 REPORT ANTI-GAY VIOLENCE 3rd MOST COMMON BIAS

ACT NOW: URGE CONGRESS TO GET TOUGH ON HATE CRIMES
Tell Politicians: Cosponsor Hate Crimes Prevention Act (S. 1529/H.R. 3081)

Compiled by Badpuppy's GayToday

 

The Human Rights Campaign says that your lawmakers need to hear your support for an important piece of crime legislation that was recently introduced in Congress.

The Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA) would protect Americans from most violent hate crimes based on their real or perceived sexual orientation, gender and disability. The HCPA was introduced on November 13 in the U.S. Senate by Sens. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., and Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., and in the House of Representatives by Reps. Bill McCollum, R-Fla., and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

According to the FBI, hate crimes committed because of an individual's sexual orientation are already the third most common type of bias crime -- and they are on the rise. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs documents more than 2,500 reported incidents in 1996, representing a 6 percent increase over the previous year--while overall instances of violent crime are on the decline.

Yet--unlike bias crimes based on religion, race, color and national origin--hate crimes based on sexual orientation, gender and disability are not against federal law. Therefore, until the HCPA is enacted, they cannot be investigated and prosecuted by the Justice Department the way other hate crimes are currently combated.

When Americans are assaulted merely because of their orientation, gender or disability, the law should be as tough on their assailants as it currently is tough on criminals who attack based on racial or religious bias.

The HCPA has the support of President Clinton, the Department of Justice and a bipartisan group of lead sponsors in Congress--but it needs your support if it is to become the law of the land.

Act Now

Urge your U.S. senators and representative to cosponsor the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which would include hate crimes based on sexual orientation, gender and disability among the bias crimes that the federal government can investigate and prosecute. Explain that when Americans are targeted for hate violence because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender or disability, they should be included in the basic protection of existing federal laws that are tough on hate crimes. Refer to the HCPA by its full name and bill number: S. 1529 in the Senate, H.R. 3081 in the House.

Call Congress through the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. If you are not sure who your senators and representative are, just ask the switchboard operator. You can also send electronic messages to Congress through HRC's Website at http://www.hrc.org. Write to Congress through the U.S. mail as well. Include your name and address, and send your politely worded letter to:

The Honorable _______
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable _______
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

To join the Human Rights Campaign, telephone: (800) 777-4723.

1997 BEI; All Rights Reserved.
For reprint permission e-mail gaytoday@badpuppy.com

GayToday Image Map