GWB to veto hate crimes law
Survey Shows Bush, Public Out Of Step On Gay Hate Bill
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
Posted: May 18, 2007 - 7:00 am ET
(Washington) Facing a threatened veto by President Bush legislation adding sexuality to a federal hate crime law has the support of more than two-thirds of the American public a new national poll shows.
The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act passed the House earlier this month and is pending in the Senate. Shortly before the House vote the White House issued a statement that if the measure passes Congress the President's aides would recommend he veto it.
"The Administration favors strong criminal penalties for violent crime, including crime based on personal characteristics, such as race, color, religion, or national origin However, the Administration believes that H.R. 1592 is unnecessary and constitutionally questionable."
The veto threat followed an intense lobbying campaign by conservative Christian groups
But, the majority of Americans believe the legislation should become law the survey, conducted b Gallup between May 10 and 13 shows.
It found 68 percent of Americans support the bill, also called the Matthew Shepard Act. The support cuts across partisan, ideological and religious lines with a majority of each of those demographic groups supporting the legislation.
?This new national poll continues to reiterate how incredibly out of touch right wing organizations are with the will of the American people and underscores the need for the Senate to pass this bill,? said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.
?I hope President Bush will look at this poll and realize how unbelievably out of line a threatened veto of this critical crime fighting piece of legislation is with a majority of Americans."
Gallup found that the bill has the support of 75 percent of those who consider themselves Democrats, but also is supported by 60 percent of Republicans. Additionally, 65 percent of Protestants and 72 percent of Catholics believe the bill should be enacted.
The legislation would allow the Department of Justice to assist local authorities in investigating and prosecuting cases in which violence occurs against people based on their sexuality.
Federal hate crime legislation already covers people on the basis of race and religion.
FBI statistics show that one in six hate crimes is motivated by the victim?s sexual orientation.
The legislation has the support of LGBT civil rights groups and has been endorsed by more than 210 law enforcement, civil rights, civic and religious organizations, including: the National Sheriffs' Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police, U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.