Rather than pass hate crimes legislation as a standalone bill, some senators are looking to push through the legislation as an amendment to another bill to get the job done before they recess in August. That’s the word from the Human Rights Campaign, which should know about these things because they’ve got Washington’s ear! Supporters of this methodology say it’s the “most effective” way to get the legislation to the president’s desk, and that’s what we all want, right?
But it also has this side effect: By opting not to have senators votes on the Matthew Shepard Act all by itself (as the House successfully did), we miss out on what’s effectively a roll call count on which elected officials we can count on, and who we can’t.
For its part, HRC just wants the bill in front of the president, and thus is okay with having the legislation passed as an amendment to another bill that’s sure to pass.
And they’ve got a point: After a decade of unsuccessful attempts to add sexual orientation and gender identity to protected classes (not to mention enabling federal funds for local hate crimes investigations), let’s just git this thing ‘ere done. But we would just love for all 100 senators to make it a matter of public record whether they believed our community was worthy of protecting. And to see whether this terrible woman decided to find a conscience.