The Hate Crimes Prevention Act Will Not Prevent Hate Crimes
I am not anti-gay, nor am I opposed to gay rights. I believe that same sex couples
should be allowed to marry and to adopt children. Also, openly homosexual individuals
should be eligible for service in the military. Despite this acceptance of people’s
homosexuality, I hold that the Hate Crimes Prevention Act is unnecessary in the United
States. I understand that gays and lesbians live in fear of being attacked, but who can be
sure that new legislation would deter criminals when existing assault and battery laws do
not? This bill will only complicate the overburdened legal system, confuse the law, and
violate constitutional rights.
It is dificult enough for prosecutors to get convictions on criminals. This bill will add
the complication of motive to the trials. Instead of simply proving that a person
committed a crime, the prosecutors will have to prove that the motive behind the crime
was pure hatred of homosexuals. The motive element will place unneeded pressure on
the lawyers and keep dangerous criminals on the streets.
Another problem with the Act is that it will confuse the law. What, exactly, is a hate
crime? Who gets to decide? Is it the victim? The perpetrator? The jury? There are too
many possibilities for conflicting judgments. A mugging could be misconstrued as a hate
crime and the offender could be sentenced more harshly than if his victim were a
heterosexual. I understand that this is protection for the criminal instead of the victim,
but criminals have the right to a fair trial and protection from “double jeopardy”. A
person can only be tried once for a crime, unless new evidence can be presented against
him (or her). The Act will allow the federal court to try a person, after he has been
acquitted by the state court, without having to supply additional evidence.
This legislation also calls for tou...