Friday, October 30, 2009

Rachel Maddow: Gay Marriage Battle In Maine

Pat Robertson Lies About Hate Crimes Act

Pat Robertson flat out lies to his audience on The 700 Club. Again. Via Crooks & Liars:

His basis for opposing the law, however, is completely detached from reality. For instance, Robertson argues:

Robertson: You know, there’s a law – what about a law that says it’s a federal crime to attack somebody because of his religious beliefs? Not a chance!

Robertson seems completely unaware that in fact religious bias is one of the categories of bias crime covered by hate-crime laws -- and it has been from the very start, since these laws were first enacted on the state level in the early 1980s!

Hint to Pat: Religion was covered as a bias category from the start because Jews have long been some of the most common victims of bias crimes. For instance, in the FBI's hate-crime statistics for 2007, some 1,400 of the nation's 7,600 or so reported bias crimes were of the "anti-religion" category; of those, some 118 were varieties of anti-Christian bias.

Indeed, he needs only read the text of the the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act to see that religion is one of the categories of bias it covers:

“(1) OFFENSES INVOLVING ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, OR NATIONAL ORIGIN.—Whoever, whether or not acting under color of law, willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, a dangerous weapon, or an explosive or incendiary device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin of any person—

It's not even surprising anymore, is it?

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Thanks to JMG

In Battle Over Gay Marriage, Timing May Be Key

Gay Marriage Lawsuit

Published: October 28, 2009

To the Editor:

Re “In Battle Over Gay Marriage, Timing May Be Key,” by Adam Liptak (Sidebar column, Oct. 27):

The pivotal exchange in one of the lawsuits now challenging the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage shows that the opponents of gay people’s freedom to marry still can’t give a real answer to the key question posed in yet another court by yet another judge: “What would be the harm of permitting gay men and lesbians to marry?”

The anti-gay forces’ lawyer, Charles J. Cooper, replied, “Your Honor, my answer is: I don’t know ... I don’t know.” Mr. Cooper eventually told the judge that the government should be able to exclude gay couples from marriage in order “to channel naturally procreative sexual activity between men and women into stable, enduring unions.”

But even Justice Antonin Scalia, no friend of equality for gay people, wrote in Lawrence v. Texas: “What justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples exercising ‘[t]he liberty protected by the Constitution’? Surely not the encouragement of procreation, since the sterile and the elderly are allowed to marry.”

The reason smart lawyers like Mr. Cooper don’t give a better answer to why marriage discrimination should be allowed to continue is that there isn’t one.

Evan Wolfson
Executive Director
Freedom to Marry
New York, Oct. 27, 2009