Congressman Boren Hiding Behind a Small Bush
Representative Dan Boren (CD 2, D-OKla) voted against the Mathew Sheppard Anti-Hate Crimes Bill (HB1592) that includes gay American citizens as a protected minority. The Bush White House has announced it would veto the bill should it pass the Senate as it already has passed the House in spite of 14 "No" votes from other Democrats.
In reply to a constituent, Mr. Boren wrote that freedom of speech is a cornerstone of our free society that allows a citizen to express his or her ideas. He continued that we must not place restrictions on these expressions.
We think Mr. Boren is hiding his ignorance behind a small bush of homophobia!
The Hate Crimes bill will not mute any one's verbal expression. Should this bill become law, where the Senate has a similar bill, it will expand Federal legal protection to victims of physical violence who have been attacked because the perpetrator perceives the victim to be gay, real or imagined
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First Amendment words won't hurt our minds the way sticks and stones of a physical attack will hurt our bodies.
The rabid minds of gay-haters such as Fred Phelps and Pat Robertson who publicly spout foaming rants of condemnation would still be free to continue whether or not the Hate Crimes bill is passed by Congress.
Passage of the bill would give second thoughts to hooligans who single out their victims based on suspicion of being gay.
Mr. Boren seems unable to tell the difference between verbal contempt and physical assault, words based in ignorance and actions based in violence.
The current Hate Crimes bill is not about the school-yard taunts of childhood but about the mature adult reality that actions have consequences.
If the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, Mr. Boren is in the passing lane.
James Nimmo is active in progressive issues and believes no one should be denied their equality because of the accidents of birth and circumstances.