Republicans on a South Carolina House Judiciary subcommittee decided on Thursday to narrow the list of people a proposed hate crimes bill would protect, removing some of the people who need protection the most: LGBTQ people.
“House Judiciary Committee Chairman Chris Murphy, R-North Charleston, proposed amending the bill, H.3620, to limit the protected classes to race, color, religion, sex, national origin and physical or mental disability,” The Post and Courier reports. “That removed earlier references to creed, gender, age, ancestry and sexual orientation.”
Subcommittee chairman Weston Newton, also a Republican, warned the committee about “getting too hung up on the specific wording,” and suggested LGBTQ people don’t need state protections because of last year’s historic U.S. Supreme Court Bostock decision, which found Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 already protects LGBTQ people from workplace discrimination.
Rep. Newton is wrong.
Bostock only offers LGBTQ people federal protections against workplace discrimination, and has nothing to do with hate crimes. It also does not extend to housing, credit or banking, education, or – as the South Carolina bill is purportedly supposed to protect against – hate crimes.
Chairman Murphy’s reasoning was also faulty saying “he had heard concerns from ‘a large number’ of other House members about the bill being too expansive and wanted to ensure it could make it through the Republican-dominated Legislature by focusing on the protected classes most widely used in other hate crimes legislation.”
Republicans “cut a section about civil lawsuits that some religious organizations feared could be used to suppress free speech,” The Post and Courier also notes.
The subcommittee met for just 22 minutes (video here) and passed the amended legislation up to the full Judiciary Committee without protections for LGBTQ people.
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