HRC Decries Rejection Of Hate Crimes Legislation

The Human Rights Campaign decried the removal of the Local
Law Enforcement Enhancement Act (LLEEA) from the Defense Department
authorization bill. In July, the Senate passed the measure with a vote
of 65-33 as an amendment to the bill. Through a procedural vote in
September, the House voted in favor of keeping the hate crimes measure
in the defense bill by a bipartisan vote of 213-186.

"Broad bipartisan support for this bill didn't stop the House GOP
leadership from ensuring its demise," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.
"It's just five days away from the anniversary of Matthew Shepard's
death and another year will go by without adequate hate crimes
protections. That's shameful. Even worse are the political motives
behind it. Instead of promoting hate crimes protections, the President
is promoting discrimination. Voters will remember that on Nov. 2"

LLEEA would add real or perceived sexual orientation, gender and
disability to federal hate crime laws, thus allowing the federal
government the ability to provide assistance for the investigation and
prosecution of hate crimes based on these categories. The Senate passed
LLEEA as an amendment to the Defense Department authorization bill on
June 15, 2004, with 18 Republicans voting in favor. On Sept. 28, the
House voted on a motion to instruct information conference committees
that a bipartisan majority of the House wanted it to pass, with 31
Republicans voting in favor.

The measure enjoys strong bipartisan support and is endorsed by more
than 175 law enforcement, civil rights, civic and religious
organizations, including: the National Sheriffs' Association,
International Association of Chiefs of Police, U.S. Conference of
Mayors, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association and many others.

"We thank Senators Kennedy and Smith for their leadership on this
important measure," added Jacques.

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