U.S. House Judiciary Committee markup of hate crimes bill to resume on Thursday
April 22, 2009
The U.S. House Judiciary Committee markup on the hate crimes bill (H.R. 1913) is in recess until Thursday morning. We're expecting the Committee to defeat all remaining amendments and vote tomorrow to move the bill forward. During today's meeting, Committee members successfully defeated all amendments offered by the Republicans to weaken the bill or add additional (and unnecessary) protected categories to the bill--such as senior citizens, pregnant women, unborn children and servicemembers. Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), the sole openly lesbian Member of Congress, andCongressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) continue to be true champions of the legislation and were tireless in defending the bill against hostile amendments during today's markup. Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Congressman Steve King (R-IA) were particularly relentless in their opposition to the bill, with each offering many amendments. Rep King, who admitted during the hearing that he is opposed to all hate crimes laws, even offered an amendment to add "immutable characteristics" such as eye color, hair color - or lack thereof - to the classes covered by the bill in order to make a mockery of the legislation's purpose to protect actual targeted minorities from hate violence. Congresswoman Debbie Wassermann Schultz taking on her Florida colleague Congressman Tom Rooney (R) and Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) twice calling out Rep. King for his cynical amendments added a bit of political theater to the 5+ hour markup. But as we well know, it's no light or laughing matter when gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are targeted for violent crimes because of who they are. That's why we're determined to pass this legislation. Read HRC's play-by-play updates on the hate crimes markup on Twitter here. Enter #FightHateNow at search.twitter.com for continued coverage of the hate crimes bill.