Friday, May 18, 2007
Gallop: American Public Favors Expansion of Hate Crime Law to Include Sexual Orientation!!!
H.R. 1592, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 passed by the U.S. House in early May and now being considered by the Senate, has become quite controversial in some circles. The bill would expand existing federal hate crime legislation to include crimes committed on the basis of the victim's gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
The Senate version of the bill is called the Matthew Shepard Act, named after the Wyoming college student whose brutal murder in 1998 has been used as a dramatic example of hate crimes based on sexual orientation. Gay and lesbian groups have widely supported the bill as a measure to help prevent future crimes of the same nature.
On the other hand, conservative and religious groups have mounted extensive opposition campaigns to the bill. These operations include the "National Hate Crimes Petition Day," organized by Repent America, during which religious Americans were asked to signal their opposition to the legislation. The opposition is based on the argument that the new law would curtail the ability of religious Americans to speak out in opposition of homosexuality. As Christian right leader and founder of Focus on the Family Dr. James Dobson said, "The Hate Crimes Act will be the first step to criminalize our rights as Christians to believe that some behaviors are sinful. Pastors preaching from Scripture on homosexuality could be threatened with persecution and prosecution." These religious groups have support from the White House, which issued a Statement of Administration Policy saying that, "If H.R. 1592 were presented to the president, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill."
Justice MH says: Now that is a flat LIE! The behavior part too. The bill clearly says" Nothing in this act, or the amendments made by this Act, shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any actitivies protected by the free speech or free exercise clauses the First Amendment to the Constitution" the hate crime bill says. Now whoever is Bush's senior advisors needs to be fired. With this bill, who knows what President Bush will do!
Favor Oppose No opinion 2007 May 10-13
68% 27% 5%
Although many Americans may be unfamiliar with the pending new law, there appears to be little hesitation to offer an opinion. Only 5% of Americans say they don't have an opinion about the expansion of the law.
Views of Republicans, Conservatives, Religious Americans
Much of the organized opposition to the expansion of the hate crime law has come from conservative religious groups, while the nation's top Republican leader, President George W. Bush, has suggested he will veto the legislation if it reaches his desk. But there is little evidence from these data to suggest that a majority of Republicans, conservatives, or more religious Americans are opposed to the new law.
There is a proposal to expand federal hate crime laws to include crimes committed on the basis of the victim's gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Would you favor or oppose expanding the federal hate crime laws in this way?
Americans who identify themselves as Republicans, conservatives, Protestants and other non-Catholic Christians, and those who attend church weekly are slightly less likely than other groups to favor the expansion of the hate crimes legislation to cover gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity. And while the difference between conservatives and liberals, for example, is 25 percentage points in support level (57% for conservatives, 82% for liberals), no group identifiable in Gallup's standard categories used for subgroup analysis expresses less than majority support for the type of action passed by the U.S. House in H.R. 1592.
The religious and conservative leaders who are mounting a campaign against H.R. 1592 have their work cut out for them. The data reviewed in this analysis indicate that there is strong majority support for the expansion of hate crime legislation to include sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity among the general American population. Specifically, there is majority support among identifiable groups of Christians, frequent church attenders, conservatives, and Republicans for expansion of the legislation.
Those opposed to the law may argue that many Americans are not aware of the implications of the law. That may be the case. It is a reasonable assumption (although not one provable by currently available data) that many Americans were unaware of this legislation before it was explained to them in the context of the May 10-13, 2007, Gallup Poll survey.
The challenge for opponents is that the fundamental idea of the new law seems acceptable to every identifiable subgroup of the Americans population. More conservative and religious subgroups of the population may be amenable to arguments about the hidden or unanticipated consequences of the legislation if presented to them through targeted media in the weeks to come, but convincing them of these facts would appear to be an uphill battle.
Justice MH Thoughts: The message here is that everyone know what this bill is about, and feels that hate is wrong! The American people know the bill talks about hate crimes against violent acts, not thoughts! What the hell is up with that? The Religious right will say anything to stop LGBT people from being federally protected. The same right they enjoyed under religion. What is this a special club? It seems like that to me. Another thing, You have to wonder why the GOP see them as a powerful force? I don't know why GOP lawmakers kiss the ass of the Religious right. Well, whatever! The Majority of the American people have spoken, let's see if the President will listen to the people who he claims to represent. The Hate Crimes bill will pass, one way, or another!