WASHINGTON - The Family Research Council bore false witness against its neighbors at least twice this Holy Week when communicating with its members about the need for hate crimes legislation, said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.
In an attempt to scare its members into believing that federal hate crimes laws will punish simple thoughts, the FRC asks in a new Web video (www.stopthoughtcrimes.com), "What will it mean in America if thought crimes laws are passed?" The assertion that America doesn't already have a federal hate crimes law is a flat-out lie. The federal hate crimes law (18 U.S.C. section 245), covering race, religion, color and national origin, has been on the books since 1969.
"It's easy to understand why the Family Research Council would feel the need to lie about the hate crimes law's existence. The existing federal hate crimes law already covers the employees of the FRC under its 'religion' provision," said Solmonese. "That means the FRC is either against granting others the same protections it has already enjoyed for almost 40 years under current federal law or it wants to repeal the existing hate crime law. Talk about special rights."
Just as embarrassing, no critic of the FRC - or anyone else - has ever been thrown in jail for any supposed "thought crime" under the existing federal hate crimes law. The truth is that neither the current hate crimes law nor the expanded measure criminalize thoughts or speech they only cover crimes involving bodily injury or attempted bodily injury. The hate crimes statute is only invoked to allow a federal investigation and the prosecution of bias-motivated violence if - and only if - it is necessary to achieve an effective, just result. That only happens after a violent crime is committed, which debunks the "thought crimes" talking point.
As Congress once again attempts to add women people with disabilities and members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community to the existing federal hate crimes law, the FRC has demonstrated that it is willing to go to any length to stop this needed legislation - including lying. Similar legislation has already passed in recent years in both the Republican-led House and Senate. This year, the House bill, H.R. 1592, and its soon-to-be introduced Senate companion bill will add gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability to the protected classes under 18 U.S.C, chapter 13, ensuring that the already-existing federal hate crimes law covers everyone.
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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