Hate-Crime Provision Clears Senate
WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 — The Senate voted today to extend federal hate-crime protection to people victimized because of their sexuality, but it remained doubtful that the measure would ever become law.
By voice vote and without dissent, the senators attached the hate-crime provision to a seemingly unrelated defense authorization bill, which is needed to run the Defense Department. Attaching the provision to the military bill was intended, at least by some of the provision’s supporters, to force President Bush to choose between accepting the provision or vetoing the military bill. .
The White House has said previously that Mr. Bush opposed the extension of hate-crime protection as “unnecessary and constitutionally questionable” and that he would veto it if it came to him as a stand-alone bill.
There is much that is wrong with the way Washington works, but one of the most egregiously deceptive practices is taking something you have no hope of getting passed and attaching it to a major ‘must pass’ piece of legislation.
Making harassment or physical attack on gays a ‘hate crime’ under federal legislation is absurd. Next will be bicyclists who are given the finger and gated communities suffering graffiti.
Many of the absurdities that wend their way through the legislative byways of Congress arrive on our legal doorsteps because they were buried in complex bills and unnoticed or attached (like this one) to ‘must pass’ legislation. It’s a coward’s way, the result of a blatant bribe or an attempt to blindfold the opposition.
The practice is immoral. To use an immoral practice to attain a moral goal is the height of philosophical duplicity.