I'm going against the grain in saying this, but I have a problem with Hate Crimes Laws.
Now, as a gay man, I should be in support of it, and believe me, I have tried to see the value in support them. But in the end, my conservative/libertarian values kick in and in good conscience, I can't.
The reason is this: the fight for gay rights, is at its basis, about equality. We don't want to be treated different than others, we don't want to be treated special, we want to be treated in the eyes of the law like everyone else. We want to have the same legal protections that straight couples do. If we get beaten up by some thug, we want to know that the scofflaws will be prosecuted. Hate crimes laws in effect treat people differently. A crime where there seems to be no bias, is treated differently than one that does. In essence, gays get special protections that others don't. As someone who has fought to be treated equally, I get disturbed about this.
I think sometimes the reason hate crimes laws whether they are based race, gender or sexuaulity are so popular, is that some think this will deter people from committing hate crimes. I tend to disagree. Hate is something that is irrational. I doesn't make sense, it is based on emotions. When someone chooses to gay bash, they are doing it out of fear of their own homosexual tendencies or fear of being gay. I really doubt that someone that decides on beating up a gay man is thinking about the consequences. Laws can't change the human heart. I wish it could, but it does not.
In a way, this line of reasoning coincides with those who think that the death penalty is a deterrent. Again, people who commit murder are usually not thinking about whether or not they will get the chair for this. Murder, like bias crimes, are not rational.
That said, it is interesting to see that the White House is threatening a veto on the proposed federal hate crimes bill soley on its addition of sexual orientation. I agree with Andrew Sullivan on this one: the President and his allies on the Christian Right can't have it both ways. Either hate crimes laws should extend to everyone or to no one. This "everyone but the fags" approach only shows how hateful the Christian Right is towards gays and how much the President is willing to lick their boots. Saying it's wrong to attack blacks or Jews, but that it's okay to pick on gays makes no sense. You don't have to like gay people to know that hurting them is wrong.
Jesus loved the sinners he encountered. It would be nice if those who claim to be his followers did the same.
Hate the sin, but love the sinner my ass.
Dale Carpenter explains why he is against the hate crimes laws. He's gay and he was gay bashed nearly 20 years ago.