Thursday’s historic passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act is cause for celebration. The first federal legislation to provide inclusive protections for the GLBTQ community, this hate crimes bill will extend significant protections to many Americans.
Yes, we absolutely must celebrate this victory. It tells all our citizens, and the world, who we are, what we stand for – and what we won’t stand for.
But we cannot think we’re done. This is, in fact, just the beginning.
Gays in this country are increasingly becoming victims of violent, and deadly hate crimes. New York City, certainly more “gay-friendly” than many towns and cities across America, has been host to several brutal beatings this year. Among other incidents, New Yorkers have suffered beatings on a tony Upper East Side street, outside a Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood restaurant, and the latest, the vicious beating of forty-nine year-old Jack Price – caught on tape – in blue-collar Queens.
Kicked and beaten by two young men less than half his age, Price had to be put into a medically-induced coma. One of the men arrested in the attack claimed not to be homophobic, yet proudly displayed for the media’s cameras his (misquoted) Leviticus 18:22 tattoo: “You shall not lie with a male as one does with a woman. It is an abomination.”
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee this summer that there has been “nearly one hate crime for every hour of every day over the span of a decade,” since 1998 – the year Matthew Shepard was murdered. It’s been exactly four thousand thirty-one days since Shepard’s death. Over ninety-six thousand hours. Do the math. Yes, it’s taken that long – and that many hate crime incidents – for the U.S. Congress to pass legislation offering protectionÂ to the GLBTQ community against crimes of hate.
But America is not alone in its treatment of GLBTQs. Scotland Yard reports an eighteen percent rise in homophobic hate crimes in London – almost 1200 incidents, more than three a day -Â over the past twelve months. Italy has seen an eleven percent increase in gay-related hate crimes as well. But the worst news comes out of Iraq, where organized militias are roaming the streets and gunning down suspected homosexuals, and Iran, where the government has hanged adults and juveniles – just for being gay.
Homophobic hate crimes are on the rise, and for every hate crime that makes the statistics, how many go unreported? Obviously, there are few numbers available, but one study out of Ireland this year found that sixty-four percent of homophobic hate crimes are not reported to police. A 2007 study by Human Rights First determined that “[London] police themselves estimate that some 90 percent of homophobic hate crimes go unreported.”
Every hate crime – reported or not, affects the larger community. Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker says that a hate crime,
â€œ…is really two crimesâ€‰â€”â€‰one against the individual and another against the group to which he belongs. By that definition, [Matthew] Shepardâ€™s murder may be viewed as a terrorist act against all gays, who would have felt more fearful as a result.â€
And to those, like Rep. Steve King (D-IA) who tried to have the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill name changed to the â€œLocal Law Enforcement Thought Crimes Prevention Act of 2009,” we can now, proudly, say, America thinks you’re wrong, and the full weight of U.S. law says so.
Yes, Thursday’s passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act is cause for celebration. But it will also be a rallying cry – to those like Rep. King, and to those like the American Family Association, that bastion of bigotry, whose latest call to action offered this attack:
“In its never-ending quest to shred America’s Judeo-Christian value system, the left is planning to hurriedly push through a “thought crimes” bill.
So-called “hate crimes” laws are really laws that criminalize thought, because they punish an individual not for what he did but for what he thought. Politically incorrect thoughts about homosexual behavior will result in enhanced criminal sanctions under this law.
Everywhere hate crimes laws have gone into effect, they have been quickly used to intimidate, silence and punish people of faith who express deeply held religious objections to the normalization of homosexuality.”
We can’t assume the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act will put an end to hate crimes. They’re already on the rise. What we need to do is work to ensure more victims of hate crimes report them.
Let’s use this hard-fought success to rally our troops and ensure the momentum we’ve built this year doesn’t end with the hate crimes bill. Let’s redouble our efforts to see repeal of DADT and DOMA, and enactment of ENDA.
There are only two months left in the year. There is a crisis confronting the GLBTQ community. Let’s address it, before it’s too late.
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‘Salute Their Flags’: Sarah Huckabee Sanders Appears to Attack LGBTQ Americans and BLM During Angry GOP SOTU Response
Arkansas GOP Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders appears to be targeting the LGBTQ community and its allies, Black Lives Matter activists and supporters, and all of the “left-wing” as she takes a national platform as the Republican Party’s chosen representative to deliver its response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address Tuesday night.
“Every day, we are told that we must partake in their rituals, salute their flags, and worship their false idols.. all while big government colludes with Big Tech to strip away the most American thing there is -your freedom of speech,” the former Trump White House press secretary is expected to say, based on excerpts from her prepared remarks. “That’s not normal. It’s crazy, and it’s wrong.”
The excerpts do not specify the “rituals,” “flags,” or “false idols” Huckabee Sanders is referring to, but no one on the left salutes the LGBTQ pride flag or Black Lives Matter flags or banners, and no one on the left forces anyone to worship or partake in any rituals.
“In the radical left’s America, Washington taxes you and lights your hard-earned money on fire, but you get crushed with high gas prices, empty grocery shelves, and our children are taught to hate one another on account of their race, but not to love one another or our great country,” she will also say, in remarks that sound like the ex-president’s.
“And while you reap the consequences of their failures, the Biden administration seems more interested in woke fantasies than the hard reality Americans face every day. Most Americans simply want to live their lives in freedom and peace, but we are under attack in a left-wing culture war we didn’t start and never wanted to fight. Every day, we are told that we must partake in their rituals, salute their flags, and worship their false idols.. all while big government colludes with Big Tech to strip away the most American thing there is -your freedom of speech. That’s not normal. It’s crazy, and it’s wrong.”
And yet, Huckabee Sanders, ignoring her own direct attack on some American families during her State of the Union response, will then say: “Republicans believe in an America where strong families thrive in safe communities. Where jobs are abundant, and paychecks are rising. Where the freedom our veterans shed their blood to defend is the birthright of every man, woman, and child.”
‘Progress and Resilience’: Biden in SOTU Will Remind Americans He Is ‘Building an Economy Where No One Is Left Behind’
President Joe Biden will remind Americans what life was like two years ago when he took office, and paint his vision of the future that builds on his long list of accomplishments as he delivers the State of the Union Address Tuesday night.
He is expected to focus on the economy, which has been greatly strengthened during his two years in office, as unemployment has dropped to a level not seen in nearly 54 years, and as the inflation that infects the globe continues to drop dramatically.
The President will also urge Republicans to continue to work with him — Biden has a historic record of bipartisan successes despite “razor-thin majorities.”
“The story of America is a story of progress and resilience,” the President is expected to say, according to excerpts from the White House. “We are the only country that has emerged from every crisis stronger than when we entered it. That is what we are doing again. Two years ago our economy was reeling. As I stand here tonight, we have created a record 12 million new jobs – more jobs created in two years than any president has ever created in four years. Two years ago, COVID had shut down our businesses, closed our schools, and robbed us of so much. Today, COVID no longer controls our lives. And two years ago, our democracy faced its greatest threat since the Civil War. Today, though bruised, our democracy remains unbowed and unbroken.”
President Biden will also say his “economic plan is about investing in places and people that have been forgotten.”
“Amid the economic upheaval of the past four decades too many people have been left behind or treated like they’re invisible. Maybe that’s you watching at home. You remember the jobs that went away. And you wonder whether a path even exists anymore for you and your children to get ahead without moving away. I get it. That’s why we’re building an economy where no one is left behind. Jobs are coming back, pride is coming back because of the choices we made in the last two years. This is a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America and make a real difference in your lives.”
And he will call Republicans, who have already begun investigating him, his “friends,” saying: “To my Republican friends, if we could work together in the last Congress, there is no reason we can’t work together in this new Congress. The people sent us a clear message. Fighting for the sake of fighting, power for the sake of power, conflict for the sake of conflict, gets us nowhere. And that’s always been my vision for the country: to restore the soul of the nation, to rebuild the backbone of America: the middle class, to unite the country. We’ve been sent here to finish the job!”
The State of the Union begins at 9 PM ET.
Trump Pushes Meme Accusing DeSantis of ‘Grooming High School Girls’
The meme (below) appears based off a 2021 article by the HillReporter website that alleges DeSantis “was photographed partying with underaged students.”
“Darlington is a boarding and day school, for grades Pre-K through 12,” the report states. “In 2001, when DeSantis joined the staff of the high school, he’d have been in his twenties, with college and work in politics already under his proverbial belt. His students would have been high school co-eds, teenagers, some of whom would have been living on-campus. According to our whistleblower, he had a reputation among students for being a young ‘hot teacher’ who girls loved, and the girls in the photo are believed to have graduated in 2002, making them seniors at the time.”
Trump reposted the meme on his Truth Social platform Tuesday afternoon, writing: “That’s not Ron, is it? He would never do such a thing!” His remarks appear to be sarcastic. In a separate post Trump also wrote, “No way!”
In November, Insider, citing a New York Times article, reported, “Former students of Ron DeSantis said he was a ‘total jock’ who partied with students and thought it was ‘very special’ that he graduated from Yale.”
It also alleges, “Some students recalled DeSantis fondly while others remembered ‘unthinkable’ pranks he pulled on students.”
“Multiple students told the Times that DeSantis frequented parties with Darlington high school seniors and attended some events with graduates where alcohol was served,” Insider added.
A former student of DeSantis, who is now a teacher himself, said of DeSantis, “There’s a cruelty to the sense of humor. There’s a cruelty to the mentorship.”
That Times article on DeSantis also notes, “some students were taken aback by his comments on the Civil War and abortion.”
The Daily Beast, also citing Times’ reporting, adds that DeSantis’ former students “have accused the Florida governor of being ‘mean and hostile’ towards Black students, playing ‘devil’s advocate’ when teaching lessons about the Civil War, and teaching factually incorrect history to students.”
The Times piece also uncovers DeSantis’ future goals.
“DeSantis, then a 23-year-old graduate from Yale University, used to tell his students that he was bound for the White House,” The Times adds, citing his own students.
See the meme above or at this link.
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