Inflammatory Ads Mislead Public on Hate Crimes

by HRC Staff

'Your readers are not immune from hate crimes that affect thousands of Americans every year,' said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign released the following letter today in response to full-page ads placed today by right-wing extremist groups in opposition to hate crimes laws. The ads (available online at and ran in The Orlando Sentinel, The Indianapolis Star, The Nevada Appeal, Omaha World Herald and Roll Call.

Dear Publisher,

Full-page advertisements that ran today in [name of publication] were both inflammatory and inaccurate. In ads that claim hate crimes laws treat straight and gay Americans differently, right-wing extremist groups are using lies to promote fear and stop the passage of a critical crime-fighting tool.

Your readers are not immune from hate crimes that affect thousands of Americans every year. Hate crimes based on the victim's sexual orientation, either gay or straight, remain in the top three of all reported hate crime categories. But local law enforcement officials don't have the tools they need to fight hate crimes against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans.

That's why the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Police Foundation and the National Sheriffs' Association support a bill in Congress that would provide assistance to state and local law enforcement officials in cases of hate crimes.

This bill would ensure that local police departments aren't forced to furlough deputies because of the costs associated with prosecuting heinous crimes, as was the case in Laramie, Wyo., in order to prosecute the men who murdered Matthew Shepard.

Covering both gay and straight victims equally, this bill is also supported by the overwhelming majority of Americans.

Newspaper policies typically ensure that inflammatory and inaccurate ads are thoroughly vetted before even the slightest consideration of publishing. We are requesting that you stop running these ads and set the record straight with your readers.

Nobody should be misled about one of the most important crime-fighting tools being considered by Congress.

Joe Solmonese, Human Rights Campaign President

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country.It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

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