November 30, 2007
Two weeks later, HRC wakes up
Posted by: Chris
Way back on Nov. 16, I posted about media reports that the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act was in serious jeopardy, even though it had passed both the House and the Senate. The problem then, and now, was that Senate Democrats attached the hate crimes measure to the Defense Department reauthorization, setting up a classic political squeeze. Now House conservatives are objecting to the hate crimes addition and House liberals are objecting to aspects of the DOD bill dealing with the Iraq war.
In classic Clintonian Democrat fashion, Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) pressed his colleagues to jettison the hate crime add-on, saying that to do so "does no harm to the principle involved in the hate crimes bill." Funny, even as it "does no harm" to the principle of the hate crime bill, it kills for this session the bill itself.
I wrote in response, way back on Nov. 16:
What's truly striking about this legislative machination is not the willingness of some Democrats to once again ignore promises to pass even basic gay-friendly legislation. We've come to expect that after 8 years of Bill Clinton and 15 years of off-again, on-again Democratic Congressional leadership that has yet to enact anything.
No, what's truly striking is the dead silence of all those voices that screamed so loudly at the prospect that "gender identity" would be jettisoned from the Employment Non-Discrimination Act under not-so-different circumstances. All that lobbying mobilization, all the hand-wringing, all the flurry of press releases and "United ENDA" coalition building. Now? Nada. Zippo. Nothing from the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force and the rest of the usual suspects.
Finally, this week, two weeks after the media reports about Democratic machinations that threatened the hate crimes bill -- which is trans-inclusive by the way -- the Human Rights Campaign finally put aside its turkey leftovers long enough to alert is members.
The Task Force, which you'll recall was the loudest voice of division over ENDA, has remained completely silent about the hate crime measure -- even when it issued a press release about the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which ironically recounts the victims of hate crimes based on gender identity.
The National Center for Transgender Equality, the leading trans rights group, has also been struck dumb by the threat to the Shepard Act. There's an alert about an archaic regulatory action by the Department of Homeland Security, but nothing on hate crimes. The NTCE issued seven -- count em -- press releases during the ENDA debate and yet nothing about this new threat to the hate crimes bill. Some allies.
For complete news coverage, click or bookmark: www.gaynewswatch.com/hatecrimes
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