jeff sessions

The U.S. Senator Trying to Add the Death Penalty to Hate Crimes Legislation

Sotomayor Senate

Hate crimes legislation is a’coming! Now it’s just a matter of figuring out how to phrase everything so when the gays and trans get some federal protections, there won’t be any confusion over how this stuff is to be enforced. Enter Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who wants to add this brilliant amendment: Give hate crime criminals the option of being executed.

Sessions, Senate Judiciary Committee’s top Republican, is trying to add three different amendments to the Matthew Shepard Act making its way through the U.S. Senate. (A version of the bill already passed the House.) They are: 1) Let the death penalty be an option in hate crimes cases; 2) revise guidelines; and 3) make punishments even harsher for attacks on military servicemembers and their families. HRC calls these revisions unnecessary, and notes the irony of the very senators who are against protecting gays at a federal level wanting to tack on even harsher sentences than hate crimes laws currently provide.

The Senate will take up these matters today — and we’ll soon learn whether Sessions and his supporters really want to let anti-gay priests face lethal injection (j/k!) or are just trying to trip up legislation with over-reaching amendments. But kudos to Mr. Sessions, always looking out for gays in the military!