PFLAG Congratulates Senate for Protecting Families; Criticizes Bush for Indifference to Hate Crimes
6/16/2004 4:01:00 PM
WASHINGTON, June 16 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) congratulates the 66 senators who voted yesterday to include sexual orientation and gender in the categories covered by federal hate crimes legislation. However, PFLAG families were also distressed by President Bush's obstructive stance on this important issue.
"PFLAG is pleased with the Senate's action, but realize that we have a long road ahead. The House of Representatives may not permit a vote on the bill and the President may refuse to sign it. Then we will hold our breath to see how the laws are implemented, particularly in cases of abuse against transgender men and women, by increasingly conservative courts," said Ron Schlittler, interim executive director of PFLAG. "Additionally, we would have liked the bill to clarifiy that people are also protected based on gender expression."
A White House spokeswoman said yesterday that President Bush takes the position "that all violent crime is hate crime." Such a dismissive view is the reason that protection for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community has been repeatedly denied by Congress, while American citizens have been attacked and even murdered for simply being who they are.
Bush's statement is also at odds with standard prosecution practices -- taking motive for criminal acts into account happens in courtrooms every day. Hate crimes are message crimes and their motive is to broadcast to GLBT citizens that they are unwelcome and unsafe in a particular community.