The Right Plots Hate Crimes Strategy

GOProud, a new organization claiming to represent gay conservatives, formed a few months ago for the purpose of selling the conservative agenda to the gay community. 

As GOProud explains:

While hate crimes and employment protections may be worthy goals, there are many other important priorities that receive little attention from the gay community. GOProud's agenda emphasizes conservative and libertarian principles that will improve the daily lives of all Americans, but especially gay and lesbian Americans.

At the time, executive director Jimmy LaSalvia said that "if you pulled the lever for John McCain in 2008, then passing hate-crimes legislation ... is probably not your priority" and so the organization's mission was instead to focus on painting traditional conservative policies as gay-friendly policies. 

If you are confused about just what the means, this ought to clarify:

One month after successfully tucking an amendment into the credit card reform bill that expanded gun rights, a small number of Senate Republicans are looking at the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act as another chance to score a victory for the Second Amendment. The possible plan — to add an amendment that would allow gun owners to carry their weapons from one state to another in accordance with concealed carry laws. The possible rationale — to defend gay rights.

“It makes sense for a group of people who would be protected by hate crime legislation to support something that would let them defend themselves before or after the crime,” said one Republican Senate aid familiar with the discussions. “It’s relevant, and we want to work together with gay groups to get the message out.”

While the aide described the discussions over a gun rights amendment to the hate crimes bill as “very fluid,” conservative and pro-gun rights gay groups outside of the Senate are ready to make a real push for it. GOProud, a new gay rights group that broke away from the Log Cabin Republicans in April, has talked with top staffers for Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) about how to make the civil rights case for conceal and carry reciprocity.

“We support this because we think it’s advantageous to make it legal and relatively easy for gay people to arm themselves so they can protect themselves,” said Jimmy LaSilva, who became the executive director of GOProud after three years working on policy for the Log Cabin Republicans. “In the next few weeks we want to start highlighting some of those stories. There are people who have averted gay bashings because of their ability to use guns.”

GOProud doesn't see the need for hate crimes legislation or even necessarily support its passage, but that doesn't mean that they won't try to use it in order to advance the gun-rights agenda under the guise of a gay-friendly policy.

In related hate crimes news, Janet Porter reports that, starting this weekend, the Religious Right is going to start making a coordinated push to defeat the legislation:

This Sunday, June 14, Flag Day, pastors across America will be standing for freedom by exposing this dangerous bill that could land them in jail for the "crime" of reading from Romans.

And this Monday, June 15, leaders like Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Dr. Don Wildmon, chairman of the American Family Association, and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council will be calling on their members and listeners to call their senators to stop S. 909: The anti-freedom Pedophile Protection Act. If you care about freedom, get ready to shut down the Capitol Switchboard to stop this dangerous bill that will criminalize Christianity and protect pedophiles. It's already passed the House and Obama has promised to sign it. Our last chance to stop it is in the Senate.