WASHINGTON - In the final days before a scheduled Thursday vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on the hate crimes bill that would expand coverage to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, the Human Rights Campaign issued another call to action to the entire GLBT community today. In the final days before the vote, the Human Rights Campaign has continued to answer the avalanche of lies being spewed by extremist right-wing organizations. These last-ditch attempts of hate by anti-gay groups are meant to derail the bill's passage.
"If there ever were a time for our community to act to pass hate crimes legislation, now is that time," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "As expected, the anti-gay, extremist organizations have geared up their machines of hate to pump out an avalanche of lies about the intent of this legislation. Throughout this process, from the introduction of the bill to the committee hearings, we have made sure that their falsehoods do not go unmatched. In these final moments, make no doubt about it, they know that the passage of this legislation would mean that for the first time the GLBT community is acknowledged in federal law. We must rise to the occasion, yet again, and match them call for call."
One of the most frequently promoted lies by the opposition is that the hate crimes law will make anti-gay bigots criminally liable for their hate speech. While it is certainly un-American and un-Christian to embrace a message of hate, the religious right has nothing to fear from the hate crimes bill as it applies only to acts of violence. Nothing in this act would prohibit the lawful expression of one's deeply held religious beliefs.
"It's no surprise the religious right is so concerned about hate speech - for them hate appears to be a cottage industry," Solmonese added. "But they have nothing to fear. Even after the hate crimes legislation is passed, the religious right will continue to have the federally protected right to preach hatred."
"It is crucial that every member of our community takes five minutes out of their day from now until Thursday to pick up the phone and call their member of Congress and ask them to support the hate crimes bill, H.R. 1592," continued Solmonese. "We must not allow the hate machine of the right wing be the only voice heard on Capitol Hill."
Members of Congress can be reached by calling the U.S. House of Representatives' switchboard at 202/224-3121 today and ask to be connected to your representative. Urge them to vote for the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (H.R. 1592).
A video message debunking the lies about the hate crimes bill can be viewed on HRC's homepage at www.hrc.org or at www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqvDOcd0R7Y.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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