One of the most amazing things about the Religious Right’s opposition to hate crimes legislation is that, until legislators added sexual orientation to the list of protected classes, nobody was calling for an outright repeal of such legislation when it protected things like race and religion.
But so deep is the animus from many on the Right toward gays that they would rather see all hate crimes laws repealed rather than grant them the same protections that they, as Christians, have had for years – here is Matt Barber making exactly that plea:
[A]ll hate-crimes laws, both state and federal, inarguably advance “unequal” protection of the laws. This flies in the face of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle – in Washington and around the country – should not only reject S. 909, but should also begin working toward repeal of all state and federal hate-crimes laws.
In making his case, Barber claims that hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation make up a miniscule percentage of overall crimes and, as such, this legislation is unnecessary:
Consider that according to the latest FBI statistics, out of 1.4 million violent crimes in 2007; there were a mere 247 cases of aggravated assault (including five deaths) reportedly motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Of course, if you look at the FBI’s statistics on hate crimes, instead of the overall number of crimes, you get these statistics:
An analysis of the 7,621 single-bias incidents reported in 2007 revealed the following:
* 50.8 percent were racially motivated.
* 18.4 percent were motivated by religious bias.
* 16.6 percent resulted from sexual-orientation bias.
* 13.2 percent stemmed from ethnicity/national origin bias.
* 1.0 percent were prompted by disability bias.
Looking at the breakdown of FBI statistics reveals something interesting – namely, that if you look only at “crimes against persons” and exclude “crimes against property” such as vandalism, the number of attacks motivated by religion pale in comparison to those motivated by sexual orientation:
Religion – 421
Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter: 0
Forcible rape: 0
Aggravated assault: 44
Simple assault: 82
Sexual Orientation – 1039
Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter: 5
Forcible rape: 0
Aggravated assault: 242
Simple assault: 448
So, as it turns out, there were nearly 2.5 times as many violent hate crimes targeting individuals because of their sexual orientation as there were violent crimes targeting individuals because of religion. Federal hate crimes laws protected victims from religiously motivated attacks for years, and the Right had no problem with that. But once they tried to add sexual orientation, the Right balked and is now demanding a repeal of such laws, even though crimes motivated by this sort of bias occur more than twice as often.