Rep. Michele Bachmann spoke out against the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 Tuesday night on the House floor. Big surprise, right?
Well what she has to say about it might surprise you. But it is coming from Bachmann, so maybe you won't be knocked off your seat.
Bachmann calls the update to the hate crimes laws "unjust" because it denies Americans their First Amendment rights and could be "the very definition of tyranny because it gives government literally the key over deciding what the thoughts of Americans should be."
She then goes on to list pedophiles and gay people on the list of Americans that would be protected as her reasoning to be against it.
Check out her quote, video and more of her comments below. (via MinnIndy)
Her pedophile quote:
One thing that was mentioned by Mr. Gohmert earlier, that was brought up by Mr. King, that apparently people who are practicing pedophiles would be considered protected under this legislation, but not, I understand, veterans, not, I understand, pregnant women, not, I understand, 85-year-old grandmothers would be protected under this law. But who would be protected? A pedophile, someone who considers themselves gay, someone who considers themselves transgender, someone who considers themselves a cross-dresser? That is who is protected.Read her full statement and watch the video here.
Her key example: If a straight person driving a car hits a gay person walking down the street, is that a hate crime? And then if the situation were switched, would the straight person get the same treatment? She claims this law "values" one person's life over another.
If you have an individual going through a crosswalk and a person is in their car and they hit that person in the crosswalk, it is up to the person who is hit to file the charge if it was a hate crime or not. So if the person is gay, and that is the status that is being protected, and the person driving the car is straight, would it be a hate crime if the person driving the car who is straight hit the person who is gay in the crosswalk? So does it say, then, that that life that was hit in the crosswalk is more valuable because it was a gay life versus if the person who was in the car, who is gay, who hits the person in the crosswalk, who is straight, does that mean that the straight person in the crosswalk doesn't have a cause of action against the person who is gay who is driving that car? It raises the question of whose life is valuable and whose isn't. That is the question that Mr. Gohmert raised earlier.Unfortunately Bachmann is terribly uninformed in both of her concerns. This legislation adds "sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of any person" to the existing federal law that protects people based on their race, color, religion, or national origin. Pedophiles are not included in any of those categories. Pedophiles are criminals.
Also, a hate crime can only be committed if the person harming someone does it on purpose because of their identity (because they are black, disabled, etc.) This hate crime law would add more identities to that list. So if a straight person hits a pedestrian while driving, there would have to be proof the driver tried to hit the person because of their identity. And yes, if a gay person hit a straight person with their car on purpose because they were heterosexual, that's still a hate crime. There's no different "value" in their lives.
And perhaps the scariest point of Bachmann's comments is that she believes a hate crime law hinders First Amendment speech. Does she think it's acceptable to threaten someone's life based on their differing religious beliefs or sexual orientation? Isn't there some common sense restrictions to speech that make America a safe place for everyone to live?