Skip to comments.Obama signs 'hate-crimes' bill into law
Posted on 10/28/2009 7:59:46 PM PDT by RobinMasters
A "hate crimes" bill opponents claim will be used to crack down on Christian speech, even the reading of the Bible, was signed into law today by President Obama.
The Senate approved the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act by a vote of 68-29 on Oct. 22 after Democrats strategically attached it to a "must-pass" $680 billion defense appropriations plan.
Most Republicans, although normally strong supporters of the U.S. military, opposed the bill because it hands out federal money to states and local governments in pursuit of "preventing" hate crimes. The bill creates federal protections and privileges for homosexuals and other alternative lifestyles but denies those protections to other groups of citizens.
Obama signed the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act at a White House ceremony today. Prior to signing the act into law, Obama spoke briefly of the hate crimes bill.
"After more than a decade, we've passed inclusive hate-crimes legislation to help protect our citizens from violence based on what they look like, who they love, how they pray or who they are," he said. "I promised Judy Shepard when she saw me in the Oval Office that this day would come, and I'm glad that she and her husband, Dennis, could join us for this event. I'm also honored to have the family of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy who fought so hard for this legislation. I just want you all to know how proud we are of the work that Ted did to help make this day possible."
(Excerpt) Read more at wnd.com ...
And Ruth Bader Ginsburg has favored lowering sex ages of consent to 12. And some groups such as North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) freely seek open, allegedly consenting, relations between men and boys.
I think the next barrier to fall could be this concept of an age of consent for sex activity. And if it does, then pedophiles will then have special rights and be a protected class and all that implies.
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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release October 28, 2009
Remarks by the President at Reception Commemorating the Enactment of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act
5:45 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much, everybody. Thank you so much, and welcome to the White House.
There are several people here that I want to just make mention of because they helped to make today possible. We’ve got Attorney General Eric Holder. (Applause.) A champion of this legislation, and a great Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. (Applause.) My dear friend, senior Senator from the great state of Illinois, Dick Durbin. (Applause.) The outstanding Chairman of Armed Services, Carl Levin. (Applause.) Senator Arlen Specter. (Applause.) Chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the House, Representative John Conyers. (Applause.) Representative Barney Frank. (Applause.) Representative Tammy Baldwin. (Applause.) Representative Jerry Nadler. (Applause.) Representative Jared Polis. (Applause.) All the members of Congress who are here today, we thank you.
Mr. David Bohnett and Mr. Tom Gregory and the David Bohnett Foundation — they are partners for this reception. Thank you so much, guys, for helping to host this. (Applause.)
And finally, and most importantly, because these were really the spearheads of this effort — Denis, Judy, and Logan Shepard. (Applause.) As well as Betty Byrd Boatner and Louvon Harris — sisters of James Byrd, Jr. (Applause.)
To all the activists, all the organizers, all the people who helped make this day happen, thank you for your years of advocacy and activism, pushing and protesting that made this victory possible.
You know, as a nation we’ve come far on the journey towards a more perfect union. And today, we’ve taken another step forward. This afternoon, I signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. (Applause.)
This is the culmination of a struggle that has lasted more than a decade. Time and again, we faced opposition. Time and again, the measure was defeated or delayed. Time and again we’ve been reminded of the difficulty of building a nation in which we’re all free to live and love as we see fit. But the cause endured and the struggle continued, waged by the family of Matthew Shepard, by the family of James Byrd, by folks who held vigils and led marches, by those who rallied and organized and refused to give up, by the late Senator Ted Kennedy who fought so hard for this legislation — (applause) — and all who toiled for years to reach this day.
You understood that we must stand against crimes that are meant not only to break bones, but to break spirits — not only to inflict harm, but to instill fear. You understand that the rights afforded every citizen under our Constitution mean nothing if we do not protect those rights — both from unjust laws and violent acts. And you understand how necessary this law continues to be.
In the most recent year for which we have data, the FBI reported roughly 7,600 hate crimes in this country. Over the past 10 years, there were more than 12,000 reported hate crimes based on sexual orientation alone. And we will never know how many incidents were never reported at all.
And that’s why, through this law, we will strengthen the protections against crimes based on the color of your skin, the faith in your heart, or the place of your birth. We will finally add federal protections against crimes based on gender, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation. (Applause.) And prosecutors will have new tools to work with states in order to prosecute to the fullest those who would perpetrate such crimes. Because no one in America should ever be afraid to walk down the street holding the hands of the person they love. No one in America should be forced to look over their shoulder because of who they are or because they live with a disability.
At root, this isn’t just about our laws; this is about who we are as a people. This is about whether we value one another
— whether we embrace our differences, rather than allowing them to become a source of animus. It’s hard for any of us to imagine the mind-set of someone who would kidnap a young man and beat him to within an inch of his life, tie him to a fence, and leave him for dead. It’s hard for any of us to imagine the twisted mentality of those who’d offer a neighbor a ride home, attack him, chain him to the back of a truck, and drag him for miles until he finally died.
But we sense where such cruelty begins: the moment we fail to see in another our common humanity — the very moment when we fail to recognize in a person the same fears and hopes, the same passions and imperfections, the same dreams that we all share.
We have for centuries strived to live up to our founding ideal, of a nation where all are free and equal and able to pursue their own version of happiness. Through conflict and tumult, through the morass of hatred and prejudice, through periods of division and discord we have endured and grown stronger and fairer and freer. And at every turn, we’ve made progress not only by changing laws but by changing hearts, by our willingness to walk in another’s shoes, by our capacity to love and accept even in the face of rage and bigotry.
In April of 1968, just one week after the assassination of Martin Luther King, as our nation mourned in grief and shuddered in anger, President Lyndon Johnson signed landmark civil rights legislation. This was the first time we enshrined into law federal protections against crimes motivated by religious or racial hatred — the law on which we build today.
As he signed his name, at a difficult moment for our country, President Johnson said that through this law “the bells of freedom ring out a little louder.” That is the promise of America. Over the sounds of hatred and chaos, over the din of grief and anger, we can still hear those ideals — even when they are faint, even when some would try to drown them out. At our best we seek to make sure those ideals can be heard and felt by Americans everywhere. And that work did not end in 1968. It certainly does not end today. But because of the efforts of the folks in this room — particularly those family members who are standing behind me — we can be proud that that bell rings even louder now and each day grows louder still.
So thank you very much. God bless you and God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
5:53 P.M. EDT
The Canadian Hate Crimes Leg. went through parliament and our judicial system like a dose of the salts. We have groups now trying desperately to repeal it. Surely in America's case it could be considered unconstitutional? How can you single out groups for special treatment? Aren't all men created equal under the law?
THAT is exactly the issue.
My how life has changed since Grizzard graced us with his humor.
"Elvis is dead, and I dont feel to good myself" "Dont bend over in the garden Granny, You know them taters got eyes" "If love was motor oil, I'd be a quart low"
RIP Mr Grizzard
Note: The following text is a quote:
Congress > Legislation > 2009-2010 (111th Congress) > H.R. 1913
Text of H.R. 1913: Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009
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This version: Referred in Senate. This is the text of the bill after moving from the House to the Senate before being considered by Senate committees. This is the latest version of the bill available on this website.
HR 1913 RFS
H. R. 1913
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
April 30, 2009
Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
To provide Federal assistance to States, local jurisdictions, and Indian tribes to prosecute hate crimes, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009.
SEC. 2. DEFINITION OF HATE CRIME.
In this Act—
(1) the term crime of violence has the meaning given that term in section 16, title 18, United States Code;
(2) the term hate crime has the meaning given such term in section 280003(a) of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (28 U.S.C. 994 note); and
(3) the term local means a county, city, town, township, parish, village, or other general purpose political subdivision of a State.
SEC. 3. SUPPORT FOR CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS AND PROSECUTIONS BY STATE, LOCAL, AND TRIBAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS.
(a) Assistance Other Than Financial Assistance-
(1) IN GENERAL- At the request of a State, local, or tribal law enforcement agency, the Attorney General may provide technical, forensic, prosecutorial, or any other form of assistance in the criminal investigation or prosecution of any crime that—
(A) constitutes a crime of violence;
(B) constitutes a felony under the State, local, or tribal laws; and
(C) is motivated by prejudice based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim, or is a violation of the State, local, or tribal hate crime laws.
(2) PRIORITY- In providing assistance under paragraph (1), the Attorney General shall give priority to crimes committed by offenders who have committed crimes in more than one State and to rural jurisdictions that have difficulty covering the extraordinary expenses relating to the investigation or prosecution of the crime.
(1) IN GENERAL- The Attorney General may award grants to State, local, and Tribal law enforcement agencies for extraordinary expenses associated with the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes.
(2) OFFICE OF JUSTICE PROGRAMS- In implementing the grant program under this subsection, the Office of Justice Programs shall work closely with grantees to ensure that the concerns and needs of all affected parties, including community groups and schools, colleges, and universities, are addressed through the local infrastructure developed under the grants.
(A) IN GENERAL- Each State, local, or Tribal law enforcement agency that desires a grant under this subsection shall submit an application to the Attorney General at such time, in such manner, and accompanied by or containing such information as the Attorney General shall reasonably require.
(B) DATE FOR SUBMISSION- Applications submitted pursuant to subparagraph (A) shall be submitted during the 60-day period beginning on a date that the Attorney General shall prescribe.
(C) REQUIREMENTS- A State, local, or Tribal law enforcement agency applying for a grant under this subsection shall—
(i) describe the extraordinary purposes for which the grant is needed;
(ii) certify that the State, local government, or Indian tribe lacks the resources necessary to investigate or prosecute the hate crime;
(iii) demonstrate that, in developing a plan to implement the grant, the State, local, or Tribal law enforcement agency has consulted and coordinated with nonprofit, nongovernmental violence recovery service programs that have experience in providing services to victims of hate crimes; and
(iv) certify that any Federal funds received under this subsection will be used to supplement, not supplant, non-Federal funds that would otherwise be available for activities funded under this subsection.
(4) DEADLINE- An application for a grant under this subsection shall be approved or denied by the Attorney General not later than 180 business days after the date on which the Attorney General receives the application.
(5) GRANT AMOUNT- A grant under this subsection shall not exceed $100,000 for any single jurisdiction in any 1-year period.
(6) REPORT- Not later than December 31, 2011, the Attorney General shall submit to Congress a report describing the applications submitted for grants under this subsection, the award of such grants, and the purposes for which the grant amounts were expended.
(7) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this subsection $5,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2010 and 2011.
SEC. 4. GRANT PROGRAM.
(a) Authority To Award Grants- The Office of Justice Programs of the Department of Justice may award grants, in accordance with such regulations as the Attorney General may prescribe, to State, local, or tribal programs designed to combat hate crimes committed by juveniles, including programs to train local law enforcement officers in identifying, investigating, prosecuting, and preventing hate crimes.
(b) Authorization of Appropriations- There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out this section.
SEC. 5. AUTHORIZATION FOR ADDITIONAL PERSONNEL TO ASSIST STATE, LOCAL, AND TRIBAL LAW ENFORCEMENT.
There are authorized to be appropriated to the Department of Justice, including the Community Relations Service, for fiscal years 2010, 2011, and 2012, such sums as are necessary to increase the number of personnel to prevent and respond to alleged violations of section 249 of title 18, United States Code, as added by section 7 of this Act.
SEC. 6. PROHIBITION OF CERTAIN HATE CRIME ACTS.
(a) In General- Chapter 13 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
Sec. 249. Hate crime acts
(a) In General-
(1) OFFENSES INVOLVING ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, OR NATIONAL ORIGIN- Whoever, whether or not acting under color of law, willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, a dangerous weapon, or an explosive or incendiary device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin of any person—
(A) shall be imprisoned not more than 10 years, fined in accordance with this title, or both; and
(B) shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life, fined in accordance with this title, or both, if—
(i) death results from the offense; or
(ii) the offense includes kidnaping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill.
(2) OFFENSES INVOLVING ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED RELIGION, NATIONAL ORIGIN, GENDER, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, GENDER IDENTITY, OR DISABILITY-
(A) IN GENERAL- Whoever, whether or not acting under color of law, in any circumstance described in subparagraph (B), willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, a dangerouse weapon, or an explosive or incendiary device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of any person—
(i) shall be imprisoned not more than 10 years, fined in accordance with this title, or both; and
(ii) shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life, fined in accordance with this title, or both, if—
(I) death results from the offense; or
(II) the offense includes kidnaping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill.
(B) CIRCUMSTANCES DESCRIBED- For purposes of subparagraph (A), the circumstances described in this subparagraph are that—
(i) the conduct described in subparagraph (A) occurs during the course of, or as the result of, the travel of the defendant or the victim—
(I) across a State line or national border; or
(II) using a channel, facility, or instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce;
(ii) the defendant uses a channel, facility, or instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce in connection with the conduct described in subparagraph (A);
(iii) in connection with the conduct described in subparagraph (A), the defendant employs a firearm, explosive or incendiary device, or other weapon that has traveled in interstate or foreign commerce; or
(iv) the conduct described in subparagraph (A)—
(I) interferes with commercial or other economic activity in which the victim is engaged at the time of the conduct; or
(II) otherwise affects interstate or foreign commerce.
(3) ADDITIONAL FEDERAL NEXUS FOR OFFENSE- Whoever, in the special maritime or territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or in Indian country, engages in conduct described in paragraph (1) or in paragraph (2)(A) (without regard to whether that conduct occurred in a circumstance described in paragraph (2)(B)) shall be subject to the same penalties as those provided for offenses under those paragraphs.
(b) Certification Requirement- No prosecution of any offense described in this subsection may be undertaken by the United States, except under the certification in writing of the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General, the Associate Attorney General, or any Assistant Attorney General specially designated by the Attorney General that—
(1) such certifying individual has reasonable cause to believe that the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of any person was a motivating factor underlying the alleged conduct of the defendant; and
(2) such certifying individual has consulted with State or local law enforcement officials regarding the prosecution and determined that—
(A) the State does not have jurisdiction or does not intend to exercise jurisdiction;
(B) the State has requested that the Federal Government assume jurisdiction;
(C) the State does not object to the Federal Government assuming jurisdiction; or
(D) the verdict or sentence obtained pursuant to State charges left demonstratively unvindicated the Federal interest in eradicating bias-motivated violence.
(1) In this section—
(A) the term explosive or incendiary device has the meaning given such term in section 232 of this title;
(B) the term firearm has the meaning given such term in section 921(a) of this title; and
(C) the term State includes the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and any other territory or possession of the United States.
(2) For the purposes of this chapter, the term gender identity means actual or perceived gender-related characteristics.
(d) Statute of Limitations-
(1) OFFENSES NOT RESULTING IN DEATH- Except as provided in paragraph (2), no person shall be prosecuted, tried, or punished for any offense under this section unless the indictment for such offense is found, or the information for such offense is instituted, not later than 7 years after the date on which the offense was committed.
(2) DEATH RESULTING OFFENSES- An indictment or information alleging that an offense under this section resulted in death may be found or instituted at any time without limitation.
(e) Rule of Evidence- In a prosecution for an offense under this section, evidence of expression or associations of the defendant may not be introduced as substantive evidence at trial, unless the evidence specifically relates to that offense. However, nothing in this section affects the rules of evidence governing impeachment of a witness..
(b) Technical and Conforming Amendment- The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 13 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new item:
249. Hate crime acts..
SEC. 7. SEVERABILITY.
If any provision of this Act, an amendment made by this Act, or the application of such provision or amendment to any person or circumstance is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this Act, the amendments made by this Act, and the application of the provisions of such to any person or circumstance shall not be affected thereby.
SEC. 8. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.
Nothing in this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by, the Constitution.
Passed the House of Representatives April 29, 2009.
LORRAINE C. MILLER,
I am in America but not of it.
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT ON H.R. 1913...
WHITEHOUSE.GOV ^ | April 28, 2009 | n/a
Posted on April 29, 2009 1:45:48 AM PDT by Cindy
Note: The following text is a quote:
THE BRIEFING ROOM
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary __________________________________________________________________ FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 28, 2009
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT ON H.R. 1913, THE LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT HATE CRIMES PREVENTION ACT OF 2009
This week, the House of Representatives is expected to consider H.R. 1913, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. I urge members on both sides of the aisle to act on this important civil rights issue by passing this legislation to protect all of our citizens from violent acts of intolerance legislation that will enhance civil rights protections, while also protecting our freedom of speech and association. I also urge the Senate to work with my Administration to finalize this bill and to take swift action.
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LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER PRIDE MONTH, 2009 [PROCLAMATION]
WHITEHOUSE.GOV - “BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION” ^ | June 1, 2009 | n/a
Posted on June 1, 2009 10:21:16 PM PDT by Cindy
Note: The following text is a quote:
THE BRIEFING ROOM
THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary
___________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release June 1, 2009
LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER PRIDE MONTH, 2009 - - - - - - - BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION
Forty years ago, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted police harassment that had become all too common for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Out of this resistance, the LGBT rights movement in America was born. During LGBT Pride Month, we commemorate the events of June 1969 and commit to achieving equal justice under law for LGBT Americans.
LGBT Americans have made, and continue to make, great and lasting contributions that continue to strengthen the fabric of American society. There are many well-respected LGBT leaders in all professional fields, including the arts and business communities. LGBT Americans also mobilized the Nation to respond to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic and have played a vital role in broadening this country’s response to the HIV pandemic.
Due in no small part to the determination and dedication of the LGBT rights movement, more LGBT Americans are living their lives openly today than ever before. I am proud to be the first President to appoint openly LGBT candidates to Senate-confirmed positions in the first 100 days of an Administration. These individuals embody the best qualities we seek in public servants, and across my Administration — in both the White House and the Federal agencies — openly LGBT employees are doing their jobs with distinction and professionalism.
The LGBT rights movement has achieved great progress, but there is more work to be done. LGBT youth should feel safe to learn without the fear of harassment, and LGBT families and seniors should be allowed to live their lives with dignity and respect.
My Administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance a wide range of initiatives. At the international level, I have joined efforts at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Here at home, I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security. We must also commit ourselves to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic by both reducing the number of HIV infections and providing care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS across the United States.
These issues affect not only the LGBT community, but also our entire Nation. As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans are affected. If we can work together to advance the principles upon which our Nation was founded, every American will benefit. During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.
What goes around Obama comes around.
IIRC, under plain ol’ Texas justice, two of James Byrd’s got the death penalty, and the last LWOP. This bill isn’t about punishing crime; it’s pork seasoned with thought control.
The American people are so happy now that “hate” has been outlawed. The fools haven’t a clue what this means.
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THE BRIEFING ROOM
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release June 29, 2009
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AT LGBT PRIDE MONTH RECEPTION
4:35 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. Hello, hello, hello. (Applause.) Hey! Good to see you. (Applause.) Im waiting for FLOTUS here. FLOTUS always politics more than POTUS.
MRS. OBAMA: No, you move too slow. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: It is great to see everybody here today and theyre just Ive got a lot of friends in the room, but there are some people I want to especially acknowledge. First of all, somebody who helped ensure that we are in the White House, Steve Hildebrand. Please give Steve a big round of applause. (Applause.) Wheres Steve? Hes around here somewhere. (Applause.)
The new chair of the Export-Import Bank, Fred Hochberg. (Applause.) Wheres Fred? Theres Fred. Good to see you, Fred. Our Director of the Institute of Education Sciences at DOE, John Easton. Wheres John? (Applause.) A couple of special friends Bishop Gene Robinson. Wheres Gene? (Applause.) Hey, Gene. Ambassador Michael Guest is here. (Applause.) Ambassador Jim Hormel is here. (Applause.) Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown is here. (Applause.)
All of you are here. (Laughter and applause.) Welcome to your White House. (Applause.) So
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.) (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Somebody asked from the Lincoln Bedroom here. (Laughter.) You knew I was from Chicago too. (Laughter.)
Its good to see so many friends and familiar faces, and I deeply appreciate the support Ive received from so many of you. Michelle appreciates it and I want you to know that you have our support, as well. (Applause.) And you have my thanks for the work you do every day in pursuit of equality on behalf of the millions of people in this country who work hard and care about their communities and who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. (Applause.)
Now this struggle, I dont need to tell you, is incredibly difficult, although I think its important to consider the extraordinary progress that we have made. There are unjust laws to overturn and unfair practices to stop. And though weve made progress, there are still fellow citizens, perhaps neighbors or even family members and loved ones, who still hold fast to worn arguments and old attitudes; who fail to see your families like their families; and who would deny you the rights that most Americans take for granted. And I know this is painful and I know it can be heartbreaking.
And yet all of you continue, leading by the force of the arguments you make but also by the power of the example that you set in your own lives as parents and friends, as PTA members and leaders in the community. And thats important, and Im glad that so many LGBT families could join us today. (Applause.) For we know that progress depends not only on changing laws but also changing hearts. And that real, transformative change never begins in Washington.
(Cell phone quacks.)
Whose duck is back there? (Laughter.)
MRS. OBAMA: Its a duck.
THE PRESIDENT: Theres a duck quacking in there somewhere. (Laughter.) Where do you guys get these ring tones, by the way? (Laughter.) Im just curious. (Laughter.)
Indeed, thats the story of the movement for fairness and equality not just for those who are gay, but for all those in our history whove been denied the rights and responsibilities of citizenship; whove been told that the full blessings and opportunities of this country were closed to them. Its the story of progress sought by those who started off with little influence or power; by men and women who brought about change through quiet, personal acts of compassion and courage and sometimes defiance wherever and whenever they could.
Thats the story of a civil rights pioneer whos here today, Frank Kameny, who was fired (applause.) Frank was fired from his job as an astronomer for the federal government simply because he was gay. And in 1965, he led a protest outside the White House, which was at the time both an act of conscience but also an act of extraordinary courage. And so we are proud of you, Frank, and we are grateful to you for your leadership. (Applause.)
Its the story of the Stonewall protests, which took place 40 years ago this week, when a group of citizens with few options, and fewer supporters decided theyd had enough and refused to accept a policy of wanton discrimination. And two men who were at those protests are here today. Imagine the journey that theyve travelled.
Its the story of an epidemic that decimated a community and the gay men and women who came to support one another and save one another; and who continue to fight this scourge; and who demonstrated before the world that different kinds of families can show the same compassion and support in a time of need that we all share the capacity to love.
So this story, this struggle, continues today for even as we face extraordinary challenges as a nation, we cannot and will not put aside issues of basic equality. (Applause.) We seek an America in which no one feels the pain of discrimination based on who you are or who you love.
And I know that many in this room dont believe that progress has come fast enough, and I understand that. Its not for me to tell you to be patient, any more than it was for others to counsel patience to African Americans who were petitioning for equal rights a half century ago.
But I say this: We have made progress and we will make more. And I want you to know that I expect and hope to be judged not by words, not by promises Ive made, but by the promises that my administration keeps. And by the time you receive (applause.) Weve been in office six months now. I suspect that by the time this administration is over, I think you guys will have pretty good feelings about the Obama administration. (Applause.)
Now, while there is much more work to do, we can point to important changes weve already put in place since coming into office. Ive signed a memorandum requiring all agencies to extend as many federal benefits as possible to LGBT families as current law allows. And these are benefits that will make a real difference for federal employees and Foreign Service Officers, who are so often treated as if their families dont exist. And Id like to note that one of the key voices in helping us develop this policy is John Berry, our director of the Office of Personnel Management, who is here today. And I want to thank John Berry. (Applause.)
Ive called on Congress to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act to help end discrimination (applause) to help end discrimination against same-sex couples in this country. Now, I want to add we have a duty to uphold existing law, but I believe we must do so in a way that does not exacerbate old divides. And fulfilling this duty in upholding the law in no way lessens my commitment to reversing this law. Ive made that clear.
Im also urging Congress to pass the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act, which will guarantee the full range of benefits, including health care, to LGBT couples and their children. (Applause.) My administration is also working hard to pass an employee non-discrimination bill and hate crimes bill, and were making progress on both fronts. (Applause.) Judy and Dennis Shepard, as well as their son Logan, are here today. I met with Judy in the Oval Office in May (applause) and I assured her and I assured all of you that we are going to pass an inclusive hate crimes bill into law, a bill named for their son Matthew. (Applause.)
In addition, my administration is committed to rescinding the discriminatory ban on entry to the United States based on HIV status. (Applause.) The Office of Management and Budget just concluded a review of a proposal to repeal this entry ban, which is a first and very big step towards ending this policy. And we all know that HIV/AIDS continues to be a public health threat in many communities, including right here in the District of Columbia. And thats why this past Saturday, on National HIV Testing Day, I was proud once again to encourage all Americans to know their status and get tested the way Michelle and I know our status and got tested. (Applause.)
And finally, I want to say a word about dont ask, dont tell. As I said before Ill say it again I believe dont ask, dont tell doesnt contribute to our national security. (Applause.) In fact, I believe preventing patriotic Americans from serving their country weakens our national security. (Applause.)
Now, my administration is already working with the Pentagon and members of the House and the Senate on how well go about ending this policy, which will require an act of Congress.
Someday, Im confident, well look back at this transition and ask why it generated such angst, but as Commander-in-Chief, in a time of war, I do have a responsibility to see that this change is administered in a practical way and a way that takes over the long term. Thats why Ive asked the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to develop a plan for how to thoroughly implement a repeal.
I know that every day that passes without a resolution is a deep disappointment to those men and women who continue to be discharged under this policy patriots who often possess critical language skills and years of training and whove served this country well. But what I hope is that these cases underscore the urgency of reversing this policy not just because its the right thing to do, but because it is essential for our national security.
Now, even as we take these steps, we must recognize that real progress depends not only on the laws we change but, as I said before, on the hearts we open. For if were honest with ourselves, well acknowledge that there are good and decent people in this country who dont yet fully embrace their gay brothers and sisters not yet.
Thats why Ive spoken about these issues not just in front of you, but in front of unlikely audiences in front of African American church members, in front of other audiences that have traditionally resisted these changes. And thats what Ill continue to do so. Thats how well shift attitudes. Thats how well honor the legacy of leaders like Frank and many others who have refused to accept anything less than full and equal citizenship.
Now, 40 years ago, in the heart of New York City at a place called the Stonewall Inn, a group of citizens, including a few who are here today, as I said, defied an unjust policy and awakened a nascent movement.
It was the middle of the night. The police stormed the bar, which was known for being one of the few spots where it was safe to be gay in New York. Now, raids like this were entirely ordinary. Because it was considered obscene and illegal to be gay, no establishments for gays and lesbians could get licenses to operate. The nature of these businesses, combined with the vulnerability of the gay community itself, meant places like Stonewall, and the patrons inside, were often the victims of corruption and blackmail.
Now, ordinarily, the raid would come and the customers would disperse. But on this night, something was different. There are many accounts of what happened, and much has been lost to history, but what we do know is this: People didnt leave. They stood their ground. And over the course of several nights they declared that they had seen enough injustice in their time. This was an outpouring against not just what they experienced that night, but what they had experienced their whole lives. And as with so many movements, it was also something more: It was at this defining moment that these folks who had been marginalized rose up to challenge not just how the world saw them, but also how they saw themselves.
As weve seen so many times in history, once that spirit takes hold there is little that can stand in its way. (Applause.) And the riots at Stonewall gave way to protests, and protests gave way to a movement, and the movement gave way to a transformation that continues to this day. It continues when a partner fights for her right to sit at the hospital bedside of a woman she loves. It continues when a teenager is called a name for being different and says, So what if I am? It continues in your work and in your activism, in your fight to freely live your lives to the fullest.
In one year after the protests, a few hundred gays and lesbians and their supporters gathered at the Stonewall Inn to lead a historic march for equality. But when they reached Central Park, the few hundred that began the march had swelled to 5,000. Something had changed, and it would never change back.
The truth is when these folks protested at Stonewall 40 years ago no one could have imagined that you or, for that matter, I (laughter) would be standing here today. (Applause.) So we are all witnesses to monumental changes in this country. That should give us hope, but we cannot rest. We must continue to do our part to make progress step by step, law by law, mind by changing mind. And I want you to know that in this task I will not only be your friend, I will continue to be an ally and a champion and a President who fights with you and for you.
Thanks very much, everybody. God bless you. (Applause.) Thank you. Its a little stuffed in here. Were going to open we opened up that door. Were going to walk this way, and then were going to come around and well see some of you over there, all right? (Laughter.) But out there. (Laughter.)
But thank you very much, all, for being here. Enjoy the White House. Thank you. (Applause.)
END 4:53 P.M. EDT
Camille Paglia on hate crimes legislation:
As a libertarian, I must also express my opposition yet again to hate crimes legislation, which is not progressive but authoritarian. The government should enforce and even reduce existent laws, not pile on more and more regulation and surveillance, which increase the size and intrusiveness of the state. Hate crimes bills formalize ideological inquiries into motive that smack of the totalitarian thought police. In a democracy, government has no business singling out one or several groups as more worthy of protection than any other individual or group. Justice should be blind.
Nuff said! Game, set & match.
“Are Pastors at Risk With Hate Crime Legislation?”
SNIPPET: “As weve reported to you in the past, the concept of hate crimes legislation is problematic because it creates separate classes of victims. This legislation would make it a more severe crime to commit a violent act against a homosexual than to commit a violent act against a senior citizen, a mother, or countless other classes that could be viewed as meriting special protection. Rather than prosecuting all crimes equally, this legislation would create a special victim class based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
This becomes even more problematic when you consider the chilling effect that it could have on religious speech. For example, it is conceivable that a pastor preaching on the Biblical perspective on homosexuality could face charges if someone who hears that sermon commits a violent act. While we firmly believe that the pastors First Amendment protections would ultimately prevail, this legislation could put the pastors constitutionally-protected speech under a legal microscope.
Fortunately, there was language included in the legislation that provides some solid statutory protection for religious speech.”
SNIPPET: “As always, we will vigorously defend the constitutional right of our religious leaders to speak freely about the tenets of their faith.”
Posted: 10/23/2009 12:01 AM
“Obama signs ‘hate crimes’ bill - Christian broadcasters concerned”
Charlie Butts - OneNewsNow - 10/28/2009 6:00:00 AM
SNIPPET: “President Barack Obama has signed into law a measure that adds to the list of federal hate crimes attacks on people based on their sexual orientation. Congress approved the legislation last week as part of the $680-billion FY 2010 Defense Authorization bill. Appended to the hate crimes amendment was a statement ensuring that a religious leader or any other person cannot be prosecuted on the bases if his or her speech, beliefs, or association.
But Craig Parshall, chief counsel for National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), discounts that statement, pointing out that such laws in other countries have been used to silence people of faith. He believes the law approved by Congress is potentially dangerous as it relates to comments made about homosexuality or another religion.
“Under the criminal law of incitement, if something is said in a broadcast that another person uses as a motivation to go out and commit an act of what they call ‘bodily injury’ in the statute, then a broadcaster could be held criminally liable,” he explains.”
Second, who has standing to challenge the constitutionality of the bill before it is applied to those who can least defend themselves?
Is the ACLU at all interested in challenging this law? Anyone?
WE are the fools; they can decide that it can mean whatever they want it to mean.
That was the plan all along.
The perverts have taken over.
Ironically, after many years, Canada found their "hate" law unconstitutional. Go figure.