The White House would have to review any “hate crimes” plan that would arrive on the president’s desk from Congress, a spokeswoman said today.
WND earlier reported on the expectation the plan, which was defeated a year ago when President Bush indicated it was not needed and he would veto it, would be returned to the agenda.
“Here’s ultimately what we expect,” Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel and dean of the Liberty University School of Law, told WND at the time. “The hate crimes plan is to be offered as an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2009 Department of Defense reauthorization bill. That’s what the word is, that it’s going to be offered as an amendment.”
Pro-homosexual advocates long have sought such a law, but opponents fear it would be used to crack down on those who maintain a biblical perspective that condemns homosexuality as sin. Observers note it would criminalize speech and thought, since other criminal actions already are addressed with current statutes.
Canada already has an aggressive “hate crimes” law, and there authorities have gone so far as to tell a Christian pastor he must recant his faith because of the legislation that bans statements that can be “perceived” as condemning another person.
Some states already have similar statutes, too, and in New Mexico, a photography company run by two Christians was fined $6,600 by the state for declining to provide services to a lesbian couple setting up a lookalike “marriage” ceremony. Also, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter earlier this year signed a bill into law that opponents describe as draconian, with one analyst expressing the opinion that it actually could be read as outlawing publication of the Bible in the state because of its injunctions against homosexuality.
That, of course, was just before the Wall Street scandal broke and grabbed the attention of Congress. Les Kinsolving, WND’s correspondent at the White House, raised the issue at today’s briefing.
“This May 3, 2007, executive order of the president statement says, ‘H.R. 1592, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act was unnecessary and constitutionally questionable.’ And my question, if the provisions of this bill are revived and passed by Congress, will the president veto it?” he asked.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino promised a review.
“I think I’d have to take a look. I’m not familiar with that legislation,” she said.
In the earlier discussion, Bush went on record specifically noting the “hate crimes” legislation would create special privileges for those who identify themselves with an alternative sexual lifestyle.
Staver said since criminal acts already are addressed with existing law, the only impact of “hate crimes” legislation would be to criminalize free speech and religious speech and a person’s thoughts. For example, an assailant convicted of attacking a heterosexual might get six months in jail. Under a “hate crimes” plan, if the victim reported being homosexual, the sentence might be enhanced significantly, analysts said.
According to Rev. Ted Pike, who also has battled “hate crimes” plans, Staver’s concern “is justified.”
Citing an Aug. 22 Washington Blade story, Pike said Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass, a lead sponsor of the bill in the House, has called on the Senate to pass the measure this year as a freestanding bill.
“Frank, a homosexual, is as much a bellwether of pro-homosexual legislative trends in the House, as is Sen. Edward Kennedy in the Senate,” Pike said.