Tuesday, August 07, 2007

News Release: President Bush Right in Threatening to Veto Defense Bill

American Family Association of Pennsylvania





CONTACT:  Diane Gramley   1.814.437.5355 or 1.814.271.9078


Anti-Hate Group Commends President Bush for Veto Threat of Defense Bill if Hate Crimes Amendment Remains


(Harrisburg) – On July 11th, Senator Ted Kennedy offered his hate crimes bill (S-1105) as an amendment to the Defense Reauthorization bill (HR 1585).  At that time the American Family Association of Pennsylvania (AFA of PA) noted that this was an attempt to sneak the hate crime provision through the Senate.  The AFA of PA commends the White House for reiterating its opposition to the hate crimes bill stating that it is too broad and the President plans on vetoing the defense bill if it contains the hate crimes amendment.


“The hate crimes bill or as it is now -- Amendment 2067 to the Defense Reauthorization bill -- is a bad piece of legislation.  Among other issues is the federalization of each and every local and state crime and the use of the Commerce Clause to validate the provisions in the bill,” noted Diane Gramley, president of the statewide AFA of PA.


Recently a Pace University student was charged with a hate crime for throwing a Koran in the toilet – he has been charged with a hate crime.  This crime is not a violent crime, but apparently it would be covered under Kennedy’s bill which has the provision to aid states in investigating a crime if it is “a violation of the State, local, or Tribal hate crime laws.” 


Double jeopardy – being tried twice for the same crime – also poses a problem under this bill. Prosecution can be undertaken by the United States if “the verdict or sentence obtained pursuant to State charges left demonstratively unvindicated the Federal interest in eradicating bias-motivated violence.”


According to a November 2004 20/20 program the murder of Matthew Shepherd was not a hate crime, but a robbery attempt gone bad.  Yet, he has become the poster child of hate crime proponents.  His murderers are each serving a life sentence.  The prosecutor would have sought the death penalty, but Shepherd’s parents oppose it.  What greater punishment could have been handed down even with a hate crimes law in place?  None!


FBI statistics do not support Senator Kennedy’s claim that “crimes motivated by bias is sufficiently serious (and) widespread.”   Of the 7,160 single-bias incidences 14.2% or 1017 were motivated by sexual orientation bias. Intimidation was the highest reported “hate crime” at 48.9%.   There were six ‘hate crime murders,’ none of which were based on ‘sexual orientation bias.’  These numbers are miniscule when compared to overall crimes in the U.S.  According to the FBI, “The estimated number of violent crime offenses in 2005 was 1,390,695, an increase of 2.3 percent over the 2004 estimate. The estimated number of property crimes in 2005 was 10,166,159, a 1.5-percent decrease over the 2004 estimate.”       


“We agree with President Bush that this bill is overly broad.  Actually, hate crimes legislation is a bad idea . . . period.  There are already laws against murder, assault and property damage; hate crime laws try to get into the mind of the perpetrator to determine their thoughts during the commission of the crime.  President Bush is right in making his veto threat,” concluded Gramley.


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