WASHINGTON - Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese made the following statement regarding the data released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on hate crimes reported in the United States for 2005.
"Sexual orientation remains the third-highest recorded bias crime in our country, which underscores that anti-gay hate crimes are a very real problem nationwide. It is also a stark reminder that there is an immediate need for Congress to enact the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, legislation that would expand the federal government's reach to serious, violent hate crimes.
"The numbers of anti-gay hate crimes also indicate the need for state and local governments to do more to prevent and investigate hate crimes. Bias-motivated crimes require a comprehensive response at every level of government.
"While providing valuable data, today's hate crimes report is incomplete," added Solmonese. "It is critical that all jurisdictions treat these crimes seriously and report hate crimes statistics to the FBI and the public. We need to ensure the safety and protection of every single American regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.
"We urge Congress to pass strong hate crimes legislation that protects all citizens - including GLBT Americans - so that the federal government can provide aid and support to local law enforcement dealing with these crimes nationwide."
The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act is a crucial tool in ensuring that local law enforcement is equipped with the resources to confront hate violence in their communities. Current law stipulates that the federal government can provide aid to local law enforcement confronting hate violence based on race, religion and ethnicity.
This bill would update federal hate crimes statutes to include sexual orientation, gender identity, gender and disability to more accurately reflect the reality of hate crimes in our nation today.
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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