A decade ago Perry signed a Texas hate crimes bill that includes attacks motivated by the perceived orientation of the victim. In the preceding decade, the ’90s, when George W. Bush was the lone star state’s governor, there had been at least 28 documented murders of gay men, motivated at least partly by animus. It was literally a serial killing with multiple perpetrators, and the circumstances of almost every murder were eerily and gruesomely similar.
The bill was also motivated by the horrific murder of James Byrd, a black man who was dragged to death by three white men in Jasper, TX. Perry, then newly-elected to office, hedged his bets in signing the the bill. Perry never mentioned sexual orientation at the time he signed the measure into law, and his statement was a pretty broad hint of where his discomfort was. “I have expressed reservations about passing a hate crimes law which delineates particular groups of Texans,” he said at the time. “But I also believe that as the Governor – and as a Texan – I have an obligation to see issues from another person’s perspective, to try to walk in another person’s shoes.”
Apparently, the religious right believes the only shoes that count are theirs (and boy, are they ugly). Gary Glenn, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the American Family Association, compared Perry to Obama. If Perry wins the nomination, Glenn asserts, “both major presidential candidates would be on record as having signed into law what is arguably the most dangerous element of homosexual activists’ political agenda, which we routinely characterize — when criticizing Obama and other Democrats who advocate it — as threatening to result in the criminalization of Christianity.” (Why do we think that Glenn believes that every part of the gay agenda is its most dangerous element? And isn’t it a little odd to talk about the bill’s supposed “danger” posed to right-wing ideology when even Rick Perry realized that the real issue is gay men–not to mention members of other minority groups– being hacked to death?)
Other ultra-conservative types have piled on, including Steve Baldwin, a commentator on World Net Daily, who cites the hate crimes law as one of 10 questions Rick Perry must answer. Actually, Baldwin and company aren’t expecting an answer. They already know what they think. “[U]nder hate-crimes law, if someone beats up a white person and then beats up a gay person, they receive a heavier sentence for the latter crime,” Baldwin writes. This makes a travesty of the concept of equal application of the law and is likely unconstitutional.”
Baldwin doesn’t explain why the law is still in effect if it’s so plainly unconstitutional. Perhaps it has something to do with challenges to hate crimes laws largely failing in court.
The irony is that Perry could use some help to bolster his civil rights bona fides now, in the wake of the revelation that he used to lease a property that advertised its racially offensive name on a rock at the entrance. But the Republican base seems to believe that the only hatred that exists is against white people and Christians. And the fact that the hate crimes law that Perry signed is now classified as a gift to the gay community, with a big pink ribbon on it, makes it impossible for him to trumpet one of the few positive civil rights gestures he made as governor.
Instead, Perry now has one more nail in his political coffin, hammered in place by the right-wing of a party that seems determined to find the purest candidate and not the most electable one.
photo via Gage Skidmore
George W. Bush was President in the 1990s? Quick, somebody alert the history books!
They do have a point regarding equal protection under the law. However, its a very weak point. When you commit a crime against of a person of a minority class, because of their membership in that class, you also commit a crime of intimidation against every other member of that community. It is proper that the penalty should e tougher than just a crime against an individual.
This is the problem with the GOP. Even if you get somebody who isn’t anti-gay. The PARTY is so anti-gay that their position is basically irrelevent.
By voting for them you are giving more power to a party that is all about hate. At THIS point it is better to vote for the Dem just because the party can be pressured to fight for our rights. In the GOP somebody who is a lone voice for tolerance can’t do anything.
On the bright side, I think the GOP has gotten so crazy that I can’t see the current situation being maintened if they want to stay a viable national party.
FTFA: “[U]nder hate-crimes law, if someone beats up a white person and then beats up a gay person, they receive a heavier sentence for the latter crime,” Baldwin writes.
If Gay Hassan beats up a white guy because he’s pissed off about the Values Voter Summit, then later beats up Gay Bruce for stealing his weed, the first attack may be considered a hate crime, but not the second.
Robert in NYC
What galls and sickens me is that even if Perry gets the GOP nod as the nominee,gay republicans who may or may not vote for him or those who will stay home instead are still helping him or whomever the homophobic nominee is just to prevent any democrat from occupying the White House, but I suppose that isn’t an issue for them. Winning, no matter who it is in their party is all that matters even if it means voting against their own interests. Beyond sick. I’m not enamored of Obama, he could have been a lot bolder, but I’m sure as hell not going to sit home and let the Tea Party scumbaggers take control of this country and take us down the slippery slope to a theocratical fascist state where religion takes precedent over the constitution.
Is bi boy Rick Perry still out there pandering for the hate vote? My, my, some things never change.
@Robert in NYC: I would vote for Obama if Perry gets the nod. Thankfully, his campaign sees to be imploding.
@Riker: It will be either Perry or Bachmann, I think. Either is incredibly dangerous. Let’s face it, you’re votin’ Democrat this time, baby!
The rethuglican’t party is full of bigots. No denying it. The few who aren’t simply do not make up for what the party as a whole stands for, and they are not loud enough against their hateful peers, so they are nowhere near being part of the solution.
@Riker: Haha. Whoops. Thanks for the ribbing. We’ve fixed that error.
@Daniel Villarreal: Not quite, i’m afraid. His name is George H. W. Bush.
@Shannon1981: My money is on Romney. He’s the only one that polling shows could actually prevail over Obama.
Face it people, the Republicans can pretty much lose this election. They just don’t have a candidate worth squat. First, Perry is being attacked by his own party. He’s another George Bush and that is not going to get him elected. Cain, is an African American who cannot carry the white republican vote in the south-which he needs to do to beat Obama. Romney is now being attacked as a member of a cult by the Christian Republicans. The others are just losers. I personally don’t see where the Republicans really have a chance.
@macmantoo: Polls show Romney winning in some key states, but still within the margin of error…it’ll be very close
So many choices. You can vote for Romney, who is against marriage equality, or Obama, who is also against marriage equality.
You can vote for Romney, whose INS/ICE would deport foreign longtime spouses of US citizens, or Obama, whose INS/ICE is continuing to deport foreign longtime spouses of US citizens.
You can vote for Romney, whose State Department won’t issue a gay person a passport in their new last name after marriage… or Obama, whose State Department won’t issue a gay person a passport in their new last name after marriage.
You can vote for Romney, who calls for “respect for gay people” but follows up with anti-gay rules and regulations, or Obama, who says his gay friends are “helping him evolve” but follows up with anti-gay rules and regulations.
Oh, how blessed for choice we are!
And no, Obamapologists, I’m not interested in reading your bullshit rationales. Facts are facts.
No. 1 · Riker wrote, “George W. Bush was President in the 1990s? Quick, somebody alert the history books!”
Read QUEERTY’s statement again – he was the governor of Texas, as QUEERTY stated.
@Brian: Or you could vote for Fred Karger, who is openly gay, 100% pro-equality, and vowed to make gay marriage “the law of the land.” Some of you would rather vote for the breeders who only at best support kinda-sorta-equality.
The presidential race is starting to resemble the Munchkinland election for Wicked Witch, and not just the GOP.
Brian, your post wins the thread.
(DISCLAIMER: I won’t vote for Herman Cain but I’ll gladly sit back and watch white “liberal” heads explode in a rage of racist remarks.)
@Riker: You fail at reading comprehension? Quick, someone alert your high school!
“In the preceding decade, the ’90s, when George W. Bush was the lone star state’s governor, there had been at least 28 documented murders of gay men…”
No mention of being president…
Steve Baldwin is a d*ck.
“[U]nder hate-crimes law, if someone beats up a white person and then beats up a gay person…”
Since when are being white + being gay mutually exclusive? I didn’t know that gay was a race now.
actually the family of James Byrd insisted on the inclusion of hate crimes legislation to include sexual orientation but Queerty would not report this because you know African Americans are so homophobic…yada yada yada
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