Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Hate Crimes and Exodus

There's a new push in Washington to add to the Federal hate crimes bill and include gender, disability, and sexual orientation. As you can imagine, the anti-gay folks are pissed, to say the least.

Exodus has a new ad out that you can see over at Randy's blog. The headline of the ad is, "Hate Crime laws say we were MORE VALUABLE as homosexuals than we are now as former homosexuals." Randy also gives his take on the issue over there. I encourage you to read it.

I also encourage you to read Ex-Gay Watch's takes here and here (these are commentaries of the opinions of the HRC and Wayne Besen).

Randy and I had a brief discussion via email recently. I don't plan to talk in depth about what we spoke about, but one point he made to me was that I should be able to look through different views and see a person for being a person, not their political/cultural/social views. He told me he and Alan Chambers (of Exodus also) talked often about the depression, promiscuity, etc. of gay life because they knew that it was such a big part of "gay life." But, he said that I should be able to look beyond their beliefs and see them for their greater purpose--to lead people to God. And, he said that as someone that sees bad happening in gay life, he has to speak out about it, even if it offends people.

Given that conversation, I had a thought.

I want this post to be the place where I officially speak out about this Exodus ad. Randy- if you are reading this, I'm not writing this to be part of the NNFC (not nice fan club), but to openly address what I believe to be false and misleading.

The Exodus ad is false and misleading because it claims that straight people would not be covered while gay people would. It also claims that this law would make the lives of gay people "more valuable" than the lives of ex-gays.

My first point is the main one--that the proposed bill addresses "actual or perceived sexuality." So, if someone gets beat up because the criminal *thinks* the person is gay, he would be guilty of a hate crime, even if the victim is not actually gay (think ex-gays here ). Second, the bill does not address extra protections for gay people only. If someone is assaulted because of their orientation (either gay or straight), a hate crime would be considered. Covering gay people solely rather than all people is just an inference made by these right-wing groups, not the law itself.

Let me also add that hate crimes laws do not mean one life is more valuable than another (just as manslaugther vs. murder, or a life sentence vs. 35 years, does not mean one life was more valuable than another). Hate crimes laws address crimes where the intent is to terrorize a specific population of society. Therefore, this is not a crime against one individual, but against an entire group specifically because they are part of that group.

Either way you cut it--for or against this bill--the language in this Exodus ad is misleading.

I'm not saying this to be mean, inflammatory, or to start a fight--just to point out what I see. If ex-gays can generally refer to the "unhappiness, pain and promiscuity" of "gay life," (not some gay life, not some gays) and be defended because that is how they see it, then certainly I can point out a misleading ad that is not being true or upfront in its message.


At 16/12/05 8:43 PM, Anonymous BC Waterboy said...

I am a firm believer in hate crimes legislation for groups who have a history of persecution and violent attacks. Violent attacks also include hate literature and spoken word that is presented in a public forum, that is meant to degrade, humiliate or bring about harm to a person or sector of the population. What exodus has done, does not make any sense because there is no connection between an ex-gay's self worth and legislation to protect homosexuals from violent attacks whether physical or verbal. I firmly believe that this applies to the hateful and false information and rhetoric coming from religious groups and their opposition to our community goes way, way beyond religious freedom. Just got eviscerated at ex-gay watch for suggesting legislation against these hate groups but, I do believe that they are largely to blame for hate crimes and are a large part of the root cause for the need for such legislation in the first place. Sad that this is even being discussed in 2005, but in reality, backlash against us for the imaginary threat to family created by Bush' team of criminals has necessitated this.


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